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  • Romans Chapter 12 Verses 1-2

    Romans Chapter 12

    Introduction

    Paul just finished to enlighten us, by the Holy Spirit, about God’s plan for the nation of Israel. He did so in the last three chapters we studied. From chapter 9 to chapter 11 Paul taught the Gentile church about Israel and how this people still fits in God’s redemptive plan. Paul, actually God, anticipated that the Gentile church would fall into the same trap Israel had fallen into for thousands of years. The trap of spiritual pride and deception. Deception because spiritual pride deceives people into thinking for some reason or the other that they are better than everybody else. Israel had been called by God to be the nation by which the rest of the world would come to Him, and in fact God so accomplished this in spite of Israel’s rebellion, disobedience, idolatry and apostasy. God fulfilled Himself through Jesus Christ the promises He made to Abraham for Israel and the nations.

    This He did through the Jewish people. Yet, the Jewish nation was unwilling to submit to God and to do what God had originally called them to do. In fact the Jewish nation hated the Gentiles with a great hatred and a great discrimination. They did so because they felt that they only were God’s chosen people and that God only cared about their salvation. They felt special, and they were in a sense, because God revealed Himself to them and placed His favor and His grace and love and His presence upon them.

    The Jews were so discriminatory against the Gentiles that they thought they would become defiled and contaminated just by the shadow of a Gentile person passing over them. Jesus though already from the beginning of His ministry made it clear to Nicodemus, see John 3, that God’s plan was to save both Jews and Gentiles without looking at a particular ethnic favoritism in the realm of salvation.

    The Jews hated this thought, that is in fact why John the Baptist was an unpopular prophet. He in fact called the nation to repent and John’s baptism was promoting the practice of the Jewish religion which in the event a Gentile was to convert and become a Jew the Gentile had to undergo a washing, a baptism of repentance of all his or her pagan sins. By the way, this was the only way a Gentile could be saved according to Jewish law and so it was. Yet the baptism or the washing, the symbol of the washing off sinfulness from the person, was only required for Gentiles at conversion. So when the Baptist, or better when God was calling Israel to get ready for Messiah’s Kingdom they were in essence saying that the Jews had to undergo the same washing the Gentiles had to when they decided to believe and convert to Yahweh.

    Most of the Jews realized this baptism was actually placing them on the same level as the Gentiles and that was offensive to them. So their spiritual pride was offended, they did not feel that they needed to repent as they thought they were more righteous than the Gentiles just because they were Abraham’s seed in the flesh or they were circumcised.

    So, Paul had begun way before in this letter to explain that in a way the Jews were indeed a God privileged and blessed nation Romans 3:1-2 and Romans 9:3-5, and history teaches us that they were and they will continue to be,certainly God has placed His love and promises on them.

    However, God has also leveled the plain of His redemptive plan by placing Israel and the rest of the nations upon the same level. In other words all of God’s promises are and will be all fulfilled only by and in Jesus Christ for either Jews and Gentiles. Obviously by studying and examining chapter 11 and by doing this we have seen many promises related to the nation of Israel that we saw written in Old Testament Scripture will only be fulfilled by God by grace and by the remnant of the nation of Israel through faith in Messiah, when the remnant will enter into the New Covenant.

    This was the intention God had from the beginning of time, God brought and will bring His redemptive plan to perfect completion in spite of all the human, satanic opposition against Israel and the apostasy of Israel itself. As we said in the study of the previous chapter, God is sovereign and omnipotent and what He planned He will bring to pass, what He promised He will fulfill.

    Having seen all this and having understood the great mercy and goodness of God, God had warned the Gentile church not to look upon Israel with contempt or judgment, not to think themselves above Israel just because God had temporarily and in part abandoned them to themselves. He warns the church that Israel’s condition is a temporary situation, He will indeed return to save His people whom He foreknew and chose long before. He in fact is exhorting the church to show mercy to His people Israel by offering them the same mercy He has offered them by the preaching of the Gospel to them. Well, as we have seen we know now how that has worked and how it will work out.

    Now Paul is now embarking in a whole new section of the epistle to the Roman church. We have seen that this letter was in essence divided into three main sections.

    The first section from chapter 1 to 8 was mainly doctrinal and theological in nature. It explained why the need of the Gospel, it thoroughly exposed man’s total corrupt and depraved sinful nature, it then went on reuniting both Jews and Gentiles all as sinners in need of God’s grace and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul taught us that the law cannot save and what the Gospel is and how our nature is changed by grace and through faith in Jesus only, he explained what faith is, how Jesus undid what Adam had done and did what Adam was not able to do, Romans 3 to Romans 5. In Romans 6 to Romans 8 Paul taught us what it means to be Christians spiritually, how and why we still sin but how we are assured of our salvation and how the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit makes us alive in Christ and together with Jesus’ High priestly ministry keeps us in the faith to the end.

    Then in Romans 9 to 11 Paul opens to us the second section of the letter which spoke of the doctrine of sovereign election, actually expounding what he began saying in chapter 8:28-39. Yet in these three chapters namely 9-10-11 he explains to the Gentile church something they did not know, in other words the condition and situation of Israel and how God desires to save them still and to fulfill all the promises He made to them and that He will do that in His own time.

    The third section of the letter Romans 12-16 has to do mainly with how a Christian ought to behave. The third section is about the practical life of the believer and his function in the church. So the third section is more practical, if that is how we want to define it, than the first two sections. However, we know and hopefully we have learned that even the previous two sections in the end are not only doctrinal and or didactic but that all doctrine of Scripture does in the end affect or should the believer’s behavior,

    2 Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    Chapter 12 is a very powerful chapter as it explains from the beginning that the believer in order to function in a godly way has to first and foremost be transformed by the renewing of his mind, that a believer must not be conformed with the ways of the world and only then God’s will and mind will be more discernible. In fact Paul we will see opens this chapter with some type of connection to what he just finished saying and to this he adds that we have to worship God and serve Him by offering ourselves entirely to Him as a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1-2.

    In the rest of the chapter from verse 3 to verse 21 Paul explains how a Christian ought to behave and function in the church.

    ROMANS CHAPTER 12

    Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    Paul opening chapter 12 says I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

    Once again we see that Paul is opening with a sentence that contains the word therefore. Therefore is there for a reason. This word unites two thoughts making the second one connected to the first one.

    Paul finished chapter 11 which context spoke about the salvation of Israel and warned the Gentile church not to become proud and conceited and not to look down upon the Jews, because as he explained they were only temporarily cut off in order for God to save the rest of the world. However, when the number of Gentile elect is completed, He would then again turn His salvation and promises to Israel and graft them back into all the New Covenant promises in Christ through the promises He made to Abraham.

    God will fulfill all the promises He made to His people, all of them. Paul also concluded the chapter saying this doxology or benediction:

    Romans 11:33-36 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

    In light of all this now Paul exhorts the Gentile church and calls them brothers. Yes, in the church we are all brothers in Christ, Gentile or Jews we are one man in Christ, one body. The flesh or ethnic status of a person remains what it is but the spiritual reality is that we are all one, united by one Spirit and belonging to the body of Christ. Paul therefore associates himself with the Gentile believers and calls them brothers. This he does because he has just finished speaking about the redemption of the remnant of the nation of Israel in the future plan of God. Now Paul again now turns his attention again to the church so that now the other believers understand that in the church, in the body of Christ, Gentiles and Jews are brothers, if indeed they both are part of the church. With this Paul wants them to understand in addition that he does not consider Jews above Gentiles when it comes to belonging to the church.

    In fact in Ephesians 2 Paul wrote:

    Ephesians 2:11-18 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands– 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

    The Gentiles have been included in the New Covenant God made promised to Israel through Abraham and confirmed later in many passages of the Old Testament. God so opened the door of His everlasting covenant to all nations.

    In Christ, in the church, every person becomes one by the Spirit and are baptized into the body of Christ.

    1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

    So God now eliminated the enmity against Him, enmity there is in the flesh and by the law itself which condemns sin in all men. Jews and Gentiles can and will be forgiven their sins and will be regenerated and made part of all the promises of God’s Everlasting Covenant in Christ.

    Spiritual salvation will be the same for all people in Christ but the rewards and promises made to the church and the saved remnant of the nation of Israel will be in many ways different. Let’s remember that we are talking about rewards and fulfilled promises by God and not eternal salvation as eternal salvation is not a reward but God’s gift to the elect.

    Yet, Paul now addresses the Gentile brothers in Christ saying I exhort you, I beseech you, I pray to you by the mercy of God, the mercy He had on you by cutting off Israel temporarily, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God.

    God’s mercy is what He saves us by. He had mercy on us, what is mercy? Mercy is not giving us the punishment we deserve. God had mercy on many so that they would not have to endure eternal punishment.

    We must remember that God exercises mercy upon sinners deserving His wrath and judgment and He does this by His elective and sovereign choice which He established before the world even began.

    That is actually when He had already planned His salvation.

    Both Jesus and the elect of all nations, Jewish and Gentile were chosen before sin had even entered in the heart of man, even before God created the world.

    Jesus was chosen and the Covenant already established between Him and the Father in eternity past:

    1 Peter 1:18-21 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

    As we see Jesus was chosen by God and agreed to the Father’s plan before the foundation of the world. He was then revealed for salvation in these last times, Peter says.

    Revelation 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

    The names of all the elect upon which God has chosen to have mercy were written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb of God who was actually slain from the creation of the world. Jesus was already chosen to be slain for the elect that God gave Him to save.

    Our names, the names of the elect were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, not as many erroneously say that our names are written in the book of life at the moment we are saved.

    Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

    Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    We are saved because our names were already written therein and because we belong to Jesus as we were given to Him by the Father in order to be saved and the agreement was made then, in eternity past.

    This is the covenant between Father and Son, made to save all those who the Father in His mercy foreknew and predestined to be saved.

    Ephesians 1:3-11 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

    This all happens because God wants to have mercy upon whom He wills.

    Romans 9:15-16 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

    This is what Scripture teaches and we have seen this extensively all the way through this study.
    There is no doubt, although for many this remains still unbelievable, God has foreknown and predestined those He chose to save and wrote our names in the book of life, this is an intimate, individual and personal choice of God not a generic and ethnic choice only.

    Those whose names were written in the book belong to Jesus, they are the ones who belong to Him and for whom He died,those the Father gave to Jesus to save, the elect from all nations and all ages, see John 6:37-45; John 11:52-53; John 17:1-3.

    The reason people believe the Gospel is because they are preordained by God to eternal life:

    Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

    As we see here, out of a group of people only as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

    It has to mean that the opposite has to be true as well, in other words that if one is not ordained by God to eternal life they will not believe and this is also supported by Jesus Himself as He says this very thing in:

    John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    John 6:64-65 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

    John 8:43-45 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

    John 10:25-30 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

    It is more than clear that the Lord Himself in these passages gives us the incontestable demonstration that those who don’t belong to God, in other words who are not foreknown and predestined are not ordained to eternal life and they don’t believe. That is the reason why people do not believe the Gospel, the word of God.

    The belonging to Christ is written in the book of life it does not have to do with some kind of mysterious human choice some call faith. Faith is a God granted gift which is part of His grace and mercy in Christ bestowed upon those who are written in the book of life, every person for whom Jesus died, every one who belong to Him, every lost sheep of His that He goes to seek and call back.

    All this is due to God’s mercy and grace which He has bestowed upon us. We did not deserve it could never deserve it, but He gave it, this should humble us before God. You see as long as a person holds on somehow, in some way to having had to do with their salvation there will be spiritual pride.

    This is also why Paul here in chapter 12 connects this context to the previous one.

    Paul is telling them and us, that if we truly understood God’s merciful and gracious salvation then they, and we, would have nothing at all to be prideful about. We believed not because we are better than those who don’t but because God had mercy on all those who believe and gave them supernaturally the ability to believe. It’s all of Him and none of us.

    Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    As we see here as well, God’s kindness and love appeared in the person of Jesus Christ and God saves not by any human work or attempted work of righteousness or work of the law, but only according to His mercy He saved us.

    How did He save us? He saves us by the work of washing and regeneration of the Holy Spirit, this is making us born again, see John 3:3-8, by which we believe, this is God’s grace which justifies us.

    As we see it’s by God’s mercy that we receive salvation, spiritual life, cleansing from all sins, and by His grace we receive faith and both are synonymous as we see we are justified by faith and by grace which makes them in essence elements given to us which produce the same result in us.

    Both are therefore a git from God, this is done by the Holy Spirit who is the gift of God to the elect. He applies to the elect the salvation Jesus fulfilled for us through the preaching and the subsequent belief of the Gospel. All of this is the product of God’s mercy.

    So Paul says, by God’s mercy, since you understand now all that God has done for you, because of this mercy no one can be spiritually proud, or at least should not be, therefore there can be no reason, it’s therefore all God and none of us.

    Paul says “Gentile church you cannot be proud and think you are better than Israel because the only reason you believed is God’s mercy which He will again have on His people when He will graft them back in His Everlasting Covenant and then they will also believe in Messiah.”
    Because of that same mercy Paul exhorts them and us, to offer our bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God which is our reasonable service of worship to God.

    What does Paul mean by offering our bodies a living sacrifice?

    Sacrifices as we know even as Scripture describes had to be offered after the sacrifices were killed and burned on the altar. Obviously these were dead sacrifices, killed and burnt holocausts. Now not only the Jews understood this concept but most of the Gentiles being pagans understand that sacrifices were offered to their false gods.

    This was done in much the same way the sacrifices were offered by the Jews in their temple.

    Meats in other words, slaughtered animals were offered and burnt on the pagan altars as well.

    In Egypt-probably from the beginning of the 4 th millennium BC-there were sacrifices and sacrificial systems. Temples at Abydos, Thebes, On, etc., were great priestly centers with high priests, lower priests, rituals and sacrifices in abundance. Burnt, meal and peace offerings predominated. Oxen, wild goats, pigs, geese were the chief animals offered.

    In Babylon, from the year 3000 BC or thereabouts, according to E. Meyer (Geschichte des Alterthums), there were many centers of worship such as Eridu, Nippur, Agade, Erech, Ur, Nisin, Larsa, Sippar, etc. These and others continued for centuries with elaborate systems of worship, sacrifices, temples, priesthoods, etc. Considerably over 100 temples and sanctuaries are mentioned on inscriptions, and several hundreds in the literature and tablets, so that Babylonia was studded with temples and edifices for the gods. At all these, sacrifices were constantly offered-animal and vegetable

    Among the nomads and tribes of Arabia and Syria, sacrifices had been common for millenniums before Moses. The researches of Wellhausen and W. R. Smith are valuable here, whatever one may think of their theories. The offerings were usually from the flocks and herds, sometimes from the spoils taken in war which had been appropriated as their own.

    Among the Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans even human sacrifices were all too common. The custom was not unknown to the Israelites either as they also indulged in these practice that caused God to judge them severely as He considered this an abomination.

    Jeremiah 7:30-32;Jeremiah 32:35; Ezekiel 16:21-22;Ezekiel 20:26.

    (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)

    As we see often human and animal sacrifices were offered to false gods or idols and the sacrifices as also the sacrifices offered to God had to be killed and burned on an altar.

    Meats were offered in pagan temples all the time, these would obviously come from sacrificed animals, dead animals.

    We see this evident in what Paul writes in other writings regarding meats offered to idols,
    1 Corinthians 8; 1 Corinthians 10:25-30.

    Now, we have seen that the New Testament, the Epistles, Paul’s writings show us that Jesus is the lamb of God and He is the only acceptable sacrifice that had to be offered to God for the expiation, the cancellation of the elect’s sins. Jesus sacrifice not only took away our sins but in essence satisfied God’s wrath and judgment that Jesus took upon Himself in behalf of the elect. Yet, Jesus although He died He did not stay dead, He rose again to life.

    His resurrection is what in essence was necessary to justify us. His blood made atonement and reconciled us to God but His resurrection, His life made us righteous and justified before God.

    Romans 4:20-25 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.

    Romans 5:8-11 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    These passages we have already studied in the previous chapters of Romans are actually leading us into understanding what it means to offer ourselves a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God.

    It is the sacrifice of Jesus, His death and the shedding of His blood that provided for us the forgiveness of our sins and has reconciled us to God but it’s His life that actually gave us spiritual life and made us alive in Him. This in fact is well described for us in:

    Romans 6:1-18 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

    We find in this remarkable passage a great part of the answer as to what it means to offer our bodies a living sacrifice to God.

    Paul begins asking and then answering the famous question that those who accuse us of taking God’s grace for granted ask. Some believers, those who believe that a believer can lose their salvation, say that we who believe that a believer does not lose their salvation teach that it’s alright to sin without restraint and that God will forgive us anyway because we are under grace. Even the law practicing Jew accused the Christians of being law breakers because they preached grace which in their eyes gave a person the right not to obey God’s law and the right to sin.

    So Paul, who actually taught that a true believer cannot lose their salvation as well as our Lord Jesus taught as well, clarifies this by saying and warning and exhorting believers that we do not continue to sin so that grace may abound, he then explains why as born again believers we should not continue to sin.

    We should not sin because we are actually dead to sin and are alive in Christ. So here is the true meaning of offering ourselves as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God.

    Paul says here that we are to make our bodies, our members as Paul calls our bodies, submit to God’s word and to His will. This includes resisting sin, which now we have the power to resist because we have been freed from the power that sin had over us and was holding us slaves to it. What freed us from this power is the life of the Spirit in Christ Jesus as freed us from the power of sin and death. This is what Paul said also in:

    Romans 8:8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    Realizing this is, should be a great liberating and powerful thing in our life. It means that we don’t have to submit and succumb to sinfulness in our life because we now have the life of Christ in us. We have the Holy Spirit that enables us to actually resist and win over sin in our life. We are no longer slaves to sin but we have in essence become willing slaves to righteousness and to God. This is in short what Paul is telling us in this passage of Romans 6.

    Before our salvation we were slaves to sin and we willingly and happily obeyed sinfulness because it was what was fueling our sinful nature. We were slaves to Satan and to our sinful nature and both of these we blindly obeyed. Sinners like to sin and have no qualms about doing it.

    Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    Look even in the following verses of Ephesians 2 Paul writes in other words what he wrote in Romans 6.

    Ephesians 2:4-6 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

    Even here we realize that it is not only Jesus’ death which made our salvation and freedom from sin and death possible but it is His life which raised us up together with Him to new life. New life in Christ is a status, a condition, a position and a powerful spiritual reality that we have as born again believers for that is what made us born again and gave us the power to live for God now. It’s not only something we have after we physically die, we have it now!

    We don’t have it only as a promise of our future condition but we actually have it even now.

    It is in fact with that power and new life that we are supposed to live now, not live as we did before, as we read both in Ephesians 2 and Romans 6 fulfilling the desires of the flesh but fulfilling God’s desires, His word and His will.

    There has been a change of ownership and a change of nature for born again believers. We once were owned by Satan and he was our master but now Jesus bought us, redeemed us and we now belong to God.

    1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

    1 Corinthians 7:22-24 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

    We see here that we have been bough with a price, that price is as Peter says the precious blood of Jesus Christ:

    1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

    Jesus bought us back from the slave market of sin and from the ownership of Satan. He bought us with His precious and sinless life.

    Not only has He bought us out of the slave market of sin and by changing our ownership, we now belong to God not to Satan. However He did something even greater if that is ever possible, God did it, He gave us spiritual life, His life. He gave us His nature while eliminating our sinful nature.

    2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

    As we see even as Peter says it’s God’s power that gave us all things pertaining to life and godliness, by coming to know Jesus who called the elect to glory and virtue. God has made us through His Spirit partakers of His divine nature, we have no longer a sinful nature but a divine nature.

    This is exactly what Paul told us in:

    Romans 6:3-15 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

    So as we see, our old man is dead, what does that mean? We did study it when we studied Romans 6, but since I know our memory is short, let’s look at it again.

    It simply means we are now in Christ new creations with a different nature, a divine spiritual nature. Our old man is crucified with Christ means that our old sinful nature we inherited from Adam is now gone, it’s dead, crucified with Christ.

    So as Paul rightly says here we must consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. We must not let sin have its way in our mortal bodies and we must not obey the lust of the flesh. We should not yield our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness to serve sin but instead yield our bodies as instruments to serve God in righteousness and holiness.

    This we do in the power and life of the Holy Spirit which works mightily in us if we so obediently submit to God’s Spirit and word. This is what Paul is exhorting believers to do, and this is exactly what offering ourselves a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God means.

    So offering ourselves a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God means to live outwardly what God has done inwardly. Being a sacrifice means dying to sin and the flesh as Romans 6 told us to do, but being a living sacrifice is being dead to sin and living the life of Christ that is in us.

    This concept is simply put by Paul in:

    Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    This passage actually explains this concept, it explains that working out our salvation with fear and trembling simply means first off acknowledging with Godly fear that it’s God that works good in us and trough us, that it’s God that gives us the desire and the ability to serve Him. God wroth His salvation in us, in our inner, spiritual man, our born again spirit. Yet, in the body we have sin still dwells because our bodies are still what is let of our connection to Adam and Paul actually explained to us that sins still dwells in our bodies even after our old man has been crucified with Christ, he shows us this in:

    Romans 7:15-23 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

    This means that when we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice holy acceptable to God means that we must allow the born again inward man to overcome and make the body of sin submit to God, to make our body obey God and not sin, basically our inner spiritual born again spirit controlled by the Holy Spirit and the word of God must train our mortal sinful bodies to submit to God and to avoid sin. It is basically a battle between our spiritual born again man and our flesh.

    Offering ourselves to God as living sacrifice is to make our bodies submit to God’s word by the power of the Holy Spirit that works in us. In fact we are to offer ourselves to God in a lifestyle of holiness and righteousness.

    So, no it’s not OK as Paul states, that because we are under grace we can continue in sin.

    Certainly it is made evident by Scripture that we are not acceptable to God by our own works and, or our own behavior, even as believers because we are accepted and acceptable to God only because of what Jesus did and because we are in Him.

    Ephesians 1:5-6 Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

    As we see God made us accepted in Christ and through Him. This is the only reason we are acceptable to God. However, even though we are in Christ and accepted in Him does not mean at all that we can just live how we please or that it OK to live in sin because it is not at all.

    Being a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God does not only stop at the acceptance before God that we have in Christ. Obviously if we are not in Christ we cannot ever be acceptable to God. That is in essence what Jesus was telling the Samaritan woman at the well when he told her:

    John 4:21-24 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    Even in this passage Jesus is speaking of the acceptable manner of worship or service to God.
    It has to be that a person must serve God, in other words worship God in Spirit and in truth. This means that a person must be born again of the Holy Spirit and therefore belong to God through the regeneration power of the Holy Spirit, faith in Christ and the truth of God’s word. In fact Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth John 16:13, and He also said that God’s word is truth John 17:17. So worshiping God, serving God to be acceptable has to be done through the power of the Holy Spirit who works through and in born again believers, it has to be done in line with and obedience to the truth of the word of God.

    Now having said this though our position in Christ, our justified position before God and our righteousness only comes from belonging to Christ not the behavior of the person, here are a few passages that confirm this and there are many others in addition:

    Romans 3:21-26; Romans 8:29-34; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:2; Ephesians 1:5-6;
    Titus 3:3-7.

    Let’s in fact look at this last passage in the above list:

    Titus 3:4-7 But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    In this passage we see that ALL our salvation, our righteousness, our position in Christ and therefore our justification is all done by God.

    However, those who have been saved, who have been given a divine nature, those who belong to Jesus and to God, those who understand they have been bought by the blood of Jesus and then consider it precious, those who have been touched by and have been placed into God’s grace and into the body of Christ must align their behavior to their God given position.

    God considers us just and righteous because we are in Christ but God’s grace does not teach us to go on sinning nor not to live holy lives in fact it’s the total opposite.

    Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

    As we see in this passage the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.

    Therefore those who teach that because we are under grace we can go on sinning without restraint and live as we please are not teaching sound doctrine in fact these are those who are actually condemned by those who teach that once we are saved we are always saved. Jesus, John, Paul and Peter all teach the permanence the of salvation of the true believer. They teach also to avoid sin, to seek to live a holy and righteous life. God’s grace teaches to avoid sin and stop the practice of it, it teaches to repent from it and to live a righteous and holy life forsaking the ways of the world and all that is ungodly.

    Those who teach that grace is a vehicle to sin and live in the lust of the flesh have not ever known God’s grace nor is their position a position of righteousness and justification before God.

    These were condemned as heretical apostates by several passages:

    2 Peter 2:17-19 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

    Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 John 3:6-10 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

    So it is evident that the Apostles all taught that whoever is born of God does not continue in a lifestyle of sin as those who belong to the world do. They did not ever teach that it was acceptable to continue in a lifestyle of sin. This by the way it does not mean that a believer has ceased to sin completely and cannot or does not sin anymore.

    Paul clearly explained this concept in Romans 6 and 7, but he did also explain in chapter 8 that who is born again has eternal life and this eternal life is forever, salvation is forever, a believer cannot be ever again condemned.

    In fact this is exactly the exhortation that Paul gives here in Romans 12:1. This is exactly the meaning of Romans chapter 6 as we have been studying.

    If a person is positioned in Christ and is justified and declared righteous by God they will align their behavior to their position. This is what the Bible describes as sanctification. This word is widely misunderstood in the church today.

    Paul in fact is always exhorting, commanding and calling believers to behave in a holy and righteous manner. Now the question is why does he have to do this? The Scriptures teach that it is God who sanctifies us and who gives us the will and the ability to work out our salvation and to do God’s will.
    How do we reconcile the facts that God does it in us but we are called to do it as well? If God did it should it not be automatic then,would it not happen regardless what we do?

    The answer although many believers don’t like it is yes it is God that does it but it’s we who do it as well, furthermore the very answer many believers do not like is that we can actually be carnal Christians and act in such a way that is not always in line with God’s ways.

    This concept of carnal Christianity is not at all estranged from the writings of Scripture. There are several examples of this spiritual dichotomy in believers. Many think that there are no carnal Christians but they are those who often are the most carnal of them all.

    Pride in thinking that a believer is better than another based on their own spiritual works is carnality. You see being carnal does not always mean committing sins of immorality, being carnal means many things and I hate to say it but the majority of Christians behave in carnal ways way too often.

    God will take us into the sanctification path and will give us the power and ability to do what He asks but the believer now has true freedom of the will. Many find this thing hard to swallow but Scripture is clear about this very fact.

    As Paul said even in Romans 6 and 7 sin is no longer in the spirit and nature of a believer but it is still present in the body. This is the whole issue, it is possible for believers to still sin, we know it is so. Why do we do it still? Because we do not do several things that the word of God commands us and exhorts us to do, one and foremost we don’t submit our bodies to the word and will of God. Again that would be offering ourselves as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God.

    However, back to the carnal behavior of true believers, just in case some still don’t believe that carnal believers exist, look first of all at what Paul tells the Corinthian Christians:

    In the introductory verses of the first letter to the Corinthians Paul addresses them this way:

    1 Corinthians 1:2-9 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Here in these opening verses we clearly see that Paul is definitely addressing the letter to people whom he has no doubt are true believers. Nevertheless this church was very, very messed up. They were acting in a very carnal way. This was the main reason Paul wrote this letter to this church. He was trying to correct many wrong things that they were practicing in that church.

    The first thing he is writing to address and correct is in the following verses:

    1 Corinthians 1:10-11 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

    In these two verses we clearly understand that in this church there were first of all divisions and then contentions. The divisions were in preferring some leaders to others, this caused a fragmented church, not a unified church, this is exactly what Paul exhorts them to be, united, perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment. In addition there were contentions among them, that is sharp disagreements that were causing divisions as well.

    Later on Paul says this:

    1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

    It is evident that Paul is addressing them not as spiritual but carnal, as Christian babies, not able to yet handle mature spiritual truths,they could not accept such when he was in their midst and not even now in his absence. Remember that Paul had stayed with them for two years and yet even after two years of existence this church was walking carnally and not spiritually, yet they though they were so very spiritual because they actually acted spiritual but were really carnal. In the entire letter is an indictment of their carnal behavior, the entire letter is a rebuke on Paul’s part. Paul now tells them that they are actually acting like worldly people as he rhetorically asks them in verse 3 are you not carnal and walk as mere men do, why? Because they envied one another, there was disunity and arguing, even strife that means enmity, heavy friction.

    Envy, strife and divisions are fruit of the flesh not the Spirit. These are all sins that in the unjust condemn them, in fact Paul mentions these very sins as a part of the sins he mentions in:

    Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    We see here the three words underlined in the list of the works of the flesh written by Paul in Galatians and we recognize them as the same words he accused the Corinthians of practicing. Envy, strife and seditions which is another word for divisions.

    So the question is, can a believer still practice the works of the flesh although born again? It is painfully obvious, the answer is yes. Yet, God as well as Paul calls us not to practice these because as Paul said, these are the works that natural men practice and again we as spiritual men and women have to submit to the control of the Holy Spirit instead of the flesh, instead of what the sin in our body desires. Let’s remember that Paul addresses them not as unbelievers but believers, as children of God and born of the Spirit. Let’s also remember that a true believer cannot lose salvation and yet we see that can still act in such immature carnal way.

    Now, we are not doing a study of the epistle to the Corinthians but this letter helps us to understand better how carnal they were and how many sinful practices were still existent in the believers who made up the Corinthian church.

    There was, as Paul said, envy, strife, divisions, pride Chapter 1-2-3 then there was immorality that some practiced and that the church condoned, they were also proud and puffed up Chapter 5. They would sue each other Chapter 6, Idolatry was still practiced, Chapter 10. Their women were contentious and rebellious and they were gluttons and selfishly would not wait for the others at their love fests and would end up eating up everything so that the ones who would come later would have nothing left, Chapter 11. They were spiritually proud and they faked spirituality in order to seek recognition of certain spiritual gifts, Chapters 12-13-14.

    In other words they acted carnally and Paul was trying to set them straight. We can see that in 2000 years of church history very little has changed, most churches and believers still are in these conditions. Why? Because, in order to be able to allow the Holy Spirit to have control of our behavior so that He can produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives we must do exactly what Paul is telling us to do here in Romans 12:1-2.

    It sounds like and easy thing to do, but if it was then the church, we, would not be so messed up still and we would act truly spiritual instead of carnal.

    Let’s remember that Paul opens this chapter saying this because he is referring these two opening verses to the subject he spoke of in the previous chapter and what he is writing in the following part of this new chapter.

    Verses one and two therefore unite chapter 11 to the rest of chapter 12. As we said in the intro chapter 12 is written to exhort a certain behavior and order in the body of Christ the church and this is for all believers, Jewish and Gentile.

    Yet, verses one and two are also an exhortation addressed to the Gentile church regarding what was previously warned, not to be spiritually proud and to think of herself as the one who replaced Israel as well as show contempt for the nation of Israel but to show them mercy instead because it was them being cut off that allowed God to have mercy con the Gentiles and include them in His Kingdom. It was through the mercy of the Gentile church that God desired to have mercy again on Israel.

    So now Paul says that it is by God’s mercy, that same mercy He had on them that they and we need to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, because Paul says now, because this is
    your reasonable service.

    What does Paul mean by our reasonable service?
    In order to answer this question better we must look at the Greek language used here.

    The word reasonable is a very, very important word. The word reasonable in the original language is
    the word logikos.

    This word’s root is the word logical even translated reasonable. Something reasonable is also logical. This is something that is understood with the mind and that is done with common sense, also it is something that has to be and is reasoned with and by the mind of a person.

    Why is this important and what does it mean to us?

    It’s very important and it has a great meaning because many make serving God or rather worshiping God an abstract spiritual esoteric thing. Instead the worship of God is very practical and reasonable and logic.

    First of all the worship of God is not only what we do in a worship service on Sunday or any other. What we do in a worship service is a very small part of worshiping God. Worshiping God means serving Him as it says in this passage and serving Him means giving our lives over to do His will.

    Now let me ask you, how can we know or understand what God’s will is in order to serve Him in other words to worship Him?

    We can only know God and His will through God’s word. Hence now we see that to serve God and to worship Him, which actually means the same thing, we have to understand how to do it by way of reason. Knowing that it is only through our reason that God allows us to understand Him and His word.

    Everything must be reasoned, considered, meditated, controlled by the word of God, especially the personal experiences that we have.

    Paul is urging us, telling us, to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God by means of a reasonable service. Our service to God must be a service guided by reason, logic, spiritual logic.

    This logic as we said is present in the word of God, because Jesus is the Word, the Logos of God, from whom all logic comes. The word of God is logical and should be understood logically, it must be reasoned. Obviously it must be reasoned, and can be understood only if the mind is enlightened and transformed by the Spirit of God and by the word of God itself, see 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

    As you can see the two go hand in hand, to be guided by the Spirit, then, is to understand the word reasoning logically because the word of God remains and is still logical and it is how it should be used.

    Then one of the essential prerequisites to be able to call ourselves spiritual is to have the mind of Christ, this happens just through discerning the things of the Spirit through the use of the word of God.

    Jesus said in John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, yea, is now come, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, because these are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. ”

    Let us remember that one of the elements with which we love and worship God, that is to serve God, as Jesus said it is “with all our mind” Luke 10:27

    We must not forget that worshiping God is not exclusively what we do in worship on Sunday, to worship God is to serve Him faithfully, that is, to love Him, as Jesus said, to obey Him in all aspects of our lives, serve Him in obedience means to love Him and that we can do only in spirit and truth, and must be done with every part of our being.

    The mind is essential to worshiping God in spirit and truth, for without loving God with all our mind we can not even love Him with all the other parts with which we have to worship Him. Our entire being has to be involved in loving Him, in other words in serving Him, which is to worship Him.

    John 16: 13-15 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever things he has heard, and will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    How does the Holy Spirit do this today? Through His guidance in the written word of God:

    John 8: 31-32 Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 know the truth and the truth shall make you free “.

    The Spirit communicates to us through the truth of God’s word, which must be reasoned by the mind, believed by the mind, remembered by the mind, meditated with the mind. It is not spiritual to keep our mind fruitless, it’s indeed a danger. The mind must remain fruitful and subjected to the Spirit of Truth, by the word of God. Our thinking, therefore, must be thinking with the word of God.

    This is also why in the following verse Paul says that we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

    However, serving God is synonymous with worshiping Him,when we serve Him with all of our being we are in essence worshiping God.

    So our entire life should be devoted in service to God and when we do this in accordance with the word of God, that is our logical and reasonable service to Him.

    There is another passage that helps us understand this reasoning with the mind being closely related to the understanding of the mind in serving God and ultimately seeing the connection with the understanding of God’s will through His word.

    The passage is: 1 Corinthians 14:14-20 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

    This passage in the entire context in which it is found is very important to understand how God wants us to serve Him with the logical understanding of His word and by keeping our minds engaged in His word rather than believing that worship of God is an abstract form of spiritual manifestation. In fact that is exactly what Paul is speaking about in Corinthians.

    First of all let’s understand the entire context of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. The letter was written to solve many wrong things that were practiced in the Corinthian church. One thing that they were practicing was a form of spiritual worship in the assembly that was not in accordance with God’s Spirit and His will.

    In fact all this was then coupled with their spiritual pride and now there was a false worship going on in the church. By the way this happens a lot today as well especially in certain movements of the Evangelical church, expressly Pentecostalism and the Charismatic church.

    Paul wrote chapters 12-13 and 14 as an entire context in order to clarify to the Corinthian church what kind of orderly and reasonable service was to be offered to God. They were offering an abstract, esoteric and disorderly worship which in many cases was nothing more than pagan style worship.

    So Paul addresses these problems in the Corinthian church. In fact right away in chapter 12 Paul makes a very interesting statement regarding spiritual gifts and their proper use, which is really the entire context of this trilogy of chapters.

    1 Corinthians 12:1-3 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

    As we see Paul is telling them in essence that they were doing things in the church in an ignorant way that really had little to do with the real manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    Paul in fact makes a reference to when they were still pagan Gentiles who were carried away unto dumb idols and led by their paganism and occult practices which apparently were continued to be practiced within the assembly. This is why here Paul mentions that no one by the true manifestation of the Holy Spirit would blaspheme the name of the Lord as no one can truly call Jesus Lord unless they are enabled to do so by the real manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

    Now, if actually people were not blaspheming the name of the Lord in the assembly what would be the purpose of Paul linking this to the subject and context of spiritual gifts?

    It is instead obvious that Paul is saying this because it was happening and people in the Corinthian church were actually doing something wrong. What were they doing then? Well it is obvious that some people were cursing the name of the Lord and making it pass for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

    But how could this be? People would have to understand when a person was cursing the name of the Lord and obviously know that it could not be the Holy Spirit to say this. Well, they would if they actually heard it said in their own understandable language but they would not be able to if it was said in a different language or in an esoteric gibberish language.

    So this allows us to better understand the historical and cultural context in which Paul is writing this and it helps us understand even better what was going on in this church and therefore why Paul writes them to correct them of these unfit pagan practices.

    The Greeks, that is where Corinth is, were heavily influenced by their pagan mythology. Many practices of their religious cults called for entering into a state of ecstasy, often brought about by drunkenness and sometimes other substances taken to induce such ecstasy. Often during these ecstatic states people would utter unintelligible sentences that were then referred as divine utterances, utterances coming form the cult gods to which these worship services were rendered. In particular there were two names Apollion and Dyonisius. Apollion was the god of reason and Dyonisius the god of confusion and chaos. Those when rendering a cultist service to Dyonisius were thrown into ecstatic frenzies and this was especially true with the women who took place in these rituals. Often within the babbling of their utterances they would utter things in their own languages.

    These are the practices that Paul is referring to here in the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 12 and he is making a connection later on with the practice of speaking in languages in chapter 14, in fact even more making a reference within the context of commanding women no to practice this in the assembly, rather to stay silent. The whole inference of Paul is no doubt to their known past pagan practices and he is now prohibiting such things to occur in the church. In fact we need to understand that previously in chapter 10 Paul warns the church to stop practicing idolatry, in other words their old pagan way of worship.

    The underlined cultural context in Corinthians is this one and Paul is explaining to them, in other words that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is much different from the ecstatic form of pagan practices they were used to act out when in fact they were led in these practices by the worship of their dumb idols.

    In fact the speaking in tongues whether it was the real manifestation or the fake pagan one was likened by Paul as a practice that had not utility unless it was interpreted or even better in the case of the real sign of speaking in tongues translated supernaturally, translated nevertheless. So that Paul in chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians is actually saying that when we are gathered together in church, or not, yet when we are gathered together we are to use reason, in other words a service of worship that is guided by reason not by emotion or ecstatic behavior. That is why this entire subject was necessary to be seen and understood as we are studying what it means to offer ourselves a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God which is our reasonable service, or service done with reason rather than plain emotion or by using a spiritual manner of worship that is not biblical. As we said the service of our worship is our entire life dedicated and offered in a reasonable way and not abstract spirituality that in the end does nothing but place us in a false state of humility which is in reality spiritual pride and in reality does not edify anyone.

    It has the appearance of edifying who practices it but in reality leaving one’s mind unfruitful is actually a very dangerous thing and unprofitable. That is exactly why Paul warns the Corinthians and us not to leave our mind unfruitful rather to be sober and leave our mind engaged in reason, in the reasoning of God’s word and its guidance and instruction.

    We thus develop the mind of Christ, this is the only way we can do so. This is why it is practically a pagan form of worship occurring in some movements where they speak gibberish not translatable words, where utterances are given and where people revel in uncontrolled laughter and indulging in animal sounds such as barking and howling. Yet this was exactly what a pagan ritual to the Greek god Dyonisius or Bacchus who was the Roman equivalent of the Greek god.

    It is really sad that some movements have insinuated themselves within the Evangelical church but these are a counterfeit brand of church which has brought these pagan practices into the church and by these they corrupt many.

    Paul warned the Corinthians then and us with foresight of this when he warned them saying:

    2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

    Leaving our minds unfruitful is a dangerous thing as it remains exposed to be influenced by other sources, voices that are not God but who camouflage themselves as being God.

    How did Jesus tell us to love the Lord our God?

    Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, ” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

    By the way this is another way of saying “offer yourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your reasonable service of worship”

    Unfortunately many have come and preached another Jesus and have introduced another gospel and people have accepted another spirit, this mostly has happened because people have lost the proper use of their mind in spiritual matters. In other words, if God and His word are not known in a logical and reasonable way by proper use of the mind then all kinds of false doctrines, ideas and images of God can be believed and accepted, even pagan worship styles.

    That Paul is actually speaking of the proper use of the mind in our worship or service to God is more than evident not only by the word used, logikeèn in other words logical, not only because we have seen the implications described for us in 1 Corinthians, but now we see this confirmed and evidenced in the next verse.

    In verse one of Romans 12 Paul tell us what to do, in verse two he gives us the practical instructions on how to do it, and also here the mind is at the center of the exhortation and of the instructions.

    Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    In order to present ourselves as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God, we have seen that we must submit our bodies, in which sin still exists and is alive, to God’s will and His word. We have seen that we have to live our entire new life in Christ in order to serve God in holy and righteous living and this means serving God in every aspect of our earthly life. In church and out of church, in every circumstance of life we must do God’s will. Not only on Sunday in church but our worship service goes beyond our assembling together as a church. By serving God we worship Him, the word is synonymous.

    Now though there is often in the believer a lot of confusion as to discern God’s will, what God wants of us.

    Well, now Paul will explain, that in reality in order to do what he exhorted in verse one, we now must do what he is instructing us to do in verse two.
    You know, we can understand what we are called to do in verse one but then the question ensues, how do we do it? How do we offer all our beings in service to God? How do we make our bodies submit to God in obedience and how do we avoid sin in our life? It’s easy to say it but how do we do it?

    Paul tells us: he calls us not to be conformed to this world. This is the first thing we must do in order to make verse one happen in our life.

    Not to be conformed to this world, what does this mean? Well, we do live in this world, how in the world are we not to be conformed to it?

    Conformity to this world means many things and it does not mean others. It does not mean in essence to stop relating to the world completely, in other words, such as both at those times as well as later on through the middle ages the asceticism that was practiced by some religious factions. In fact it still is practiced in many religions practiced in the world today.

    Some examples of these religions are: the Jewish sect of the Essenes which lived in communes completely separated from the rest of civilization, they supported themselves and remained completely separated from having contact with other people. We also know that in the Roman church in the middle ages the monastic societies of the church were formed. Here also monks, friars in monasteries as well as nuns in convents separated themselves completely practicing a very strict life and severing almost all contacts from the rest of the world while living in a self supported state. We also have as examples the Amish religion and outside of Christendom many Buddhist sects as well live in segregation and solitude and in communes self supporting themselves and having almost no contact with the outside world.

    Now, is this what Paul is saying when he says and be not conformed to this world? Those who practiced and practice this type of lifestyle within their understanding of Christendom thought or think that this is what Paul is saying here, but is it?

    This is a great misconception and it is not at all what Paul is saying when he calls us not to be conformed with the world.

    There are many examples in New Testament Scripture that allow us to clearly understand that this is not at all what God desires from us. God dos not desire at all that we go into some kind of hiding to be separated from the conformity of the world.

    In fact this is actually diametrically opposed to what God want us to do. Ho can the church, how can the believers for example evangelize the world if they separate themselves completely from living with the rest of the world? How can we be of use to God if God can’t use us?

    Look at what Jesus calls us to do:

    Matthew 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    This passage alone confirms that God does not want us to go into hiding and live a separated monastic and communal life rather Jesus says we should not hide ourselves but we need to be seen in the world. He says we need to be salt and light in the world. How can anyone see our light and taste and take benefit from our godly savor if they cannot see us or if we cannot be in their midst? God wants the world to be attracted to God by seeing the good works of God’s people. How can they see the good works of the church if the church hides its light? That’s what Jesus is saying. So the monks and all the separatist religious practitioners are actually doing what Jesus is telling the church not to do.

    Jesus is saying that we are to affect the society in which we live in a divine way and this is impossible if we isolate ourselves and go into hiding.

    The problem is instead that the church becomes contaminated and influenced by the world and this way the church loses its flavor and properties of salt of the earth. This is actually what Jesus and Paul warn us not to do. Jesus says that if the salt loses its saltiness, flavor it is good for nothing but to be trampled underfoot by men, Paul warns us instead right here in Romans 12:2 not to be conformed to this world.

    This is the separation from the world that we have to practice, we cannot, should not be at all influenced by the ideology and the philosophies of the world.

    Jesus also said this of His disciples and by extension told this of us as well:

    John 17:14-18 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

    This discourse exactly means that the Apostles and we who belong to Jesus are no longer of the world, in other words we belong to God. Those who are of the world belong to Satan. Belonging to the world means in essence to belong to Satan who now is the temporary and allowed by God ruler of the world, also called the prince of this world, Satan. So in this specific declaration Jesus is simply saying that those who belong to Him do not belong to Satan, who temporarily rules the system of this world. God was, is and always will be the supreme ruler of the universe including the world. He allows Satan to exert control over the people of the world and the system of the world, but God always holds the sovereign control over all things.

    Yet, even here in the above passage we see that the Apostles and us as well are to be in the world, Jesus says that as God had sent Him into the world so He, Jesus, sent them and by extension the entire church into the world.

    Scripture confirms that it is Satan who temporarily rules the world system.

    Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

    Here we have evidence that Satan is tempting Jesus with something that is actually in his possession at the time. Satan has the temporary lordship of the kingdoms of the world. He could not have tempted Jesus with something he actually could not give Him. Yet, it is ironic that Satan is offering to Jesus the lordship of the world if He worshiped and served him, ironic because Jesus is actually the one who is the rightful owner of the earth. It will be only Jesus who is worthy to unseal the title deed of the world as He has bought back the property of the world by His death and resurrection, see Revelation 5.

    In addition, even John tells us:

    1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

    In fact there are other translations that state:

    1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. NASU

    1 John 5:18-19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. NKJV

    1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. NIV

    More than evident that the world lies in the control of the evil one.

    Other Scriptures confirm this fact:

    Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    As we see the course of this world is controlled by the prince of the power of the air, also called the prince of this world, whose wicked spirit works in the children of disobedience, in other words those who disobey God and live in sin and are as Paul says in verse 3 by their nature, sinful human nature, children of God’s wrath, not children of God but destined to His wrath because of their belonging to the devil by nature.

    Paul is making a case of describing all people who at one point were in that state, but here in Ephesians 2 he describes the change of nature or the new birth of regeneration of those who have been saved by God’s grace. So we see that belonging to Satan a person is belonging to the world system that is controlled by Satan.

    This is a very important fact that helps us understand better what it means to be in the world but not of it. In reality to be not part of the world system the very first essential and fundamental step is to belong to God and not to Satan, to be born again and to be citizens of heaven, have a new divine nature and having put to death our old man, in other words our sinful Adamic nature.

    The entire epistle of first John describes the relationship of the believer and the world, in other words the believer has to overcome the world system and not be a friend of the world system. As we said the first step is to overcome the world system by not belonging to it any longer. This happens when we become children of God.

    1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

    As we see the only way we can overcome the world system and have victory over the world is our faith, it’s belonging to Jesus.

    Jesus Himself told us: John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

    If a person does not belong to Jesus, if a person does not believe in Jesus, then a person is still part of the world and will only believe what the world philosophies and ideologies teach. This is also clear from other passages of Scripture.

    Jesus first made this fact evident when He said:

    John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    John 15:18-19 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

    John 17:9-21 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
    14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
    17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

    So as we see believers in Jesus do not belong to this present world but belong to God. Those who belong to the world system hate true believers in Jesus Christ. They hate God our God, the only true God. They hate Jesus and His true church, they hate the word of God, they love sinfulness and they love anything that is contrary to what is righteous and holy. They love everything that contradicts God’s word, they hate the truth of God and they do not have faith to believe in God.

    Jesus described all this when He said this in John 8: John 8:23-24 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.”

    John 8:39-47 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
    42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

    Even to His half brothers Jesus said:

    John 7:3-7 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5 For neither did his brethren believe in him. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

    Also Jesus when He was brought before Pilate said this to him:

    John 18:36-38 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

    It is very evident from all that Jesus said that those who belong to the world don’t belong to God they belong to the world and because of this reason they don’t, cannot, won’t believe the truth of God’s word or they cannot and will not recognize that Jesus is the Lord. Jesus told Pilate that those who are of the truth, see, we have to be of the truth, belonging to Jesus, He is God’s word made flesh and as He said of Himself, He is the truth. He is the one and only full of grace and truth, who is of the truth hears His voice because we recognize the truth of God’s word those who belong to the world do not know what the truth is, in fact Pilate himself asks Jesus: “ what is truth?” yet the truth was standing before him, Jesus is the truth and those who belong to the world don’t belong to God nor do they recognize the truth and hate the truth.

    There are also a slew of passages in the epistle of 1 John which teach us how the child of God is not to love the world and should not submit to its philosophies and ideologies.

    1 John 2:15-17; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 3:13; 1 John 4:1-9;

    Once again: 1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

    This is why the word of God exhorts us, commands us not to be friends with the world.

    Now how can we be not friends with this world, how can we as John says not love the world, yet Jesus did say to Nicodemus that “ God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”?

    How can God love something He then commands us not to love it, when He actually told us we are to love even our enemies? Isn’t this a contradiction?

    As we know there are absolutely no contradictions in the Scriptures! So what does God mean when He says that He loved the world but that we are not to love the world? Why does this passage we are studying here in Romans 12:2 say that we are not to be conformed to this world? How are we to understand all this?

    First of all we need to look at the definition of the word world in order to better understand what God is telling us.

    There are three basic words in Greek language that are used in the New Testament and translatable as world.

    The first word is: kosmos , primarily “order, arrangement, ornament, adornment” is used to denote (a) the “earth,” (b) the “earth” in contrast with Heaven, (c) by metonymy, the “human race, mankind,” (d) “Gentiles” as distinguished from Jews, (e) the “present condition of human affairs,” in alienation from and opposition to God, (f) the “sum of temporal possessions,” (g) metaphorically, of the “tongue” as “a world (of iniquity),”

    The second word is: aion, used primarily to describe “an age, a period of time,” marked in the NT usage by spiritual or moral characteristics, is sometimes translated “world”; The phrase “the end of the world” should be rendered “the end of the age,” in most places “the ends (tele) of the world,” “the ends of the ages,” probably signifies the fulfillment of the divine purposes concerning the ages in regard to the church. Aion is always to be distinguished from kosmos, even where the two seem to express the same idea, e. g., 1 Cor 3:18, aion, v. 19, kosmos; the two are used together in Eph 2:2, lit., “the age of this world.”

    The third word is: oikoumene is used to signify “the inhabited earth”, is used (a) of the whole inhabited world, by metonymy, of its inhabitants, (b) of the Roman Empire, the world as viewed by the writer or speaker, by metonymy, of its inhabitants, (c) the inhabited world in a coming age.

    When we look at the different meaning that each word represents we need to understand also the meaning of what by metonymy means. Metonymy means a figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part, as “scepter” for “sovereignty,” or “the bottle” for “strong drink,” or “count heads (or noses)” for “count people.” For example in the case of John 3:16-17 the word world is used in a metonymic way, in other words Jesus uses it to signify all the inhabitants, all the nations which live in the world. This is evident also by the context in which it is used. So we need to look at the context to better understand what the specific use of the word means. In addition, the word world, kosmos was also used to differentiate the Jews from the Gentiles. So what Jesus is saying there is God so loved mankind, the nations, not only Israel that He sent Jesus to save the world, in other words the elect from all nations not only from Israel. So we understand that the use of the word world is in context to signify that God’s love was to be poured out upon the entire human race, God loves all of mankind. That is the love we should also have.

    So what does not loving the world mean then? How do we use the same word and what does it mean?

    We are commanded not to love the kosmos, Jesus said that the kosmos is evil. Well there is no discrepancy in the use of this word regarding the love we are to have toward it and the dislike and hate we should also have toward it.

    Kosmos is used to describe mankind and we did see that God’s word tells us that mankind is evil, that mankind is in the clutches of the evil one, the kosmos lieth in wickedness 1 John 5:19.

    God however had to demonstrate His love through the sacrifice of His Son to wicked men and women of every nation. If God didn’t do this there would have been no hope for mankind. God had to judge the sins of many men and women, the elect, doing it by outpouring His wrath and judgment upon His Son Jesus Christ. Now even as Jesus told Nicodemus, whoever believes in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and confesses Him as the living Lord will not perish but have everlasting life.

    So God had to love the world, the kosmos, the wicked of who live in this world in order to be merciful to them.

    God however, hates wickedness, hates sinfulness and unrighteousness and unholiness. Thus He also hates what the world practices. So again when God tell us to hate the world,or not to be friends with the world, not to be conformed with the ways of this world He means we must hate and dislike all the same things that God hates and dislikes.

    John 8:42-45 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

    Let’s remember that the kosmos, the world, in other words mankind is a slave to Satan and as Jesus said that those who are not the truth, in other words those who do not belong to God are children of Satan and the desires of their father they will do.

    So far we have seen that, God does not desire that we should isolate ourselves from the world, He wants us to stay in the world to influence the world for His glory.

    Many times we feel, and rightly so, that we want to run away from this world and all its wickedness, too often and rightly so we feel that we don’t belong here and in a sense we don’t as we have seen, we are not of this world,. The world hates us and we feel it, we dislike the world and its wicked ways and we should feel this way. It’s the right way to feel for those who belong to God.

    However, in spite of all this, God wants us to stay here and serve Him with a holy, righteous and reasonable service and be heralds of His truth to the world.

    Look at what Paul says in Philippians 2:

    Philippians 2:15-16 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

    Peter exhorted us much in the same way:

    1 Peter 2:11-12 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

    Notice even Peter here addresses us ad strangers and pilgrims, in other words, we are not of this world and to live contrary to the world’s ways. We live as those who are in the world but not of the world but even this passage teaches us clearly that we are not to isolate ourselves from the world.

    James says it this in a much more drastic way:

    James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

    We have already seen the many passages in 1 John where he exhorts us to be in the world but to not be a part of the world’s unrighteous ways.
    Jude also exhorts us in the same way:

    Jude 20-23 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

    We also have clearly seen before that Jesus wants us to stay in this world to do God’s work and He does not want us to be isolated and removed from the world but He want us to be removed from the world’s evil deeds.

    To conclude this subject on staying in the world but not being of it look at what Paul says again to the Corinthian church:

    1 Corinthians 5:9-13 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    Again, more importantly we have already taken stock of the letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians because we understand many things better by understanding what Paul writes to these believers. Incidentally, let me say that there is a very important issue between the two letters, the Corinthian one and the Roman one, because Paul wrote to the Roman church from Corinth.

    There is therefore an affinity in the subjects that God inspired to write about in these two letters.

    Paul is writing to the Corinthians because there is sin in the church, immoral sin practiced and he writes to command the church to discipline the sinner and not to condone or tolerate sin in the church. Yet, Paul tells the Corinthians not to stop interacting with sinners in the world because it would mean that they would have to otherwise be taken out of the world.

    Paul does say though to isolate ourselves from those who practice sin in the church. So in reality often the church, even today, actually practices the opposite instructions that Paul gives, we isolate ourselves from the sinners of the world but continue to break bread and do not discipline those in the church who practice a sinful lifestyle. So let me repeat it, we are not to indulge in the sins and behavior of the worldly sinners but we are to remain in contact with them. It is with who calls themselves a brother or sister but lives like the world lives and practices what the world practices.

    Anyway, having said this, now we understand better what the definition of the word world is in this context, in addition we have seen that we are to be in the world and not of the world.

    Paul in fact commands us not to be conformed to the ways of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. However, we cannot stop here. Not to be conformed to the ways of this world is not only entirely tied only to not practicing sin but it actually goes beyond that.

    Or better, the ways of this world all eventually lead to rebel against God and lead to grievous sin but many things that the world does and teaches are actually ideologies and philosophies.

    This is a very important concept in studying what the meaning of being conformed to the ways of the world really means.

    As we said the world is in the hands of the wicked one and the world even as we have seen in the meaning of the definition of the word kosmos also means: the “present condition of human affairs, in alienation from and opposition to God”

    This meaning is very important in this context as we see it’s not just opposing God by sinning but it’s the condition of alienation and opposition to God in all things. The condition of the world is alienated from God and opposes Him in everything that concerns God and His truth.

    The ideologies and philosophies the world teaches and tries to condition the world with are basically things that affect the mindset and reasoning of people which lead people to more rebellion against God and His ways and word.

    There are many ideologies and philosophies that the world teaches that are anti-God and anti-Christ. In fact I venture to say that all the ideologies and philosophies the world teaches are anti-God and anti-Christ.

    When ideologies and philosophies are diametrically opposed to God’s ways and word then they are erroneous it does not matter how much they seem to be good. No ideology or philosophies is absolutely neutral when it comes to God. One is either on God’s side and thinks like God or one is by consequence against God. We cannot be neutral when it comes to God, even in the church, we cannot be seated on the proverbial fence. God does not lukewarmness. Even Jesus said a very interesting thing in

    Revelation 3:14-19 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

    Here Jesus indicts the church in this passage for it’s fence sitting in their service to God. Remember that the works are in relation to how we are offering ourselves as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God which is our reasonable, logical service to God. Here is where we really begin to understand how the reasoning in the life of the believer is inextricably linked to the godly behavior of the church. Jesus is really speaking of the church’s works but as I said the works are linked to the behavior which is linked to the mentality of the church. If the church has a wrong understanding and view of God, of His word, if the church assimilates the ideologies and philosophies of the world then the works and the behavior will be certainly affected. This in reality is what the difference is between being conformed to the world or not being conformed to it.

    In fact, in this passage the church of Laodicea, as well as the church condition especially today, had adopted an apparent neutrality in regard to fighting against the ways of the world and luke warmness in serving God in accordance with His word and will.

    This is the fact, that when we try to serve God but we also want to be accepted and loved by the world we become lukewarm in our spiritual service which in effect is the worst condition in which we can find ourselves because this condition gives no possibility to be of refreshment for souls and setting on fire the world for God. Zeal for God should burn like a divine fire when then service becomes lukewarm it dishonors God and it does nothing to bring about a spiritual change in people.

    This condition is responsible for apathy of the spiritual life of the church and for the sin that is accepted and tolerated in the church.

    The church not wanting to be cold or hot in her lukewarmness wants to be liked and accepted by the world so that in effect becomes the world’s friend, but in doing this she becomes an enemy of God. The apathy in the church makes it just, as Jesus says, spiritually blind, naked and poor. It has nothing to offer to the Lord nor the world but only her friendship which is precisely enmity with God.

    As I said before being conformed or not conformed to this world is not only linked to open sinful lifestyle but it’s first linked to as Paul states very well in the context of Romans 12:2 as he gives us the answer as to the only way how we can be transformed which is the remedy to not being conformed to the ways of the world; in other words the renewing of our minds.

    So contrary to what a lot of the church has been led to erroneously believe, and by the way because of false doctrines which have crept in because of the church’s acceptance of worldly ideologies and philosophies, we cannot be transformed, we are not transformed by God with some kind of magic trick or one spiritual moment of God’s power that transforms us in single moments. God will bring transformation in our lives when and if we place ourselves in the right stance and position before Him and allow Him to do it the way He desires to do it, not the way we think is the right way. There it is again, the way we think. That’s the real issue and problem, we need to then renew our minds to think the way God thinks, to get the mind of Christ, to replace the erroneous programming of our minds by our belonging to the world and having adopted its ideologies and philosophies.

    I told you that if and when we think as the world thinks it will eventually lead us to sin and rebel against God.

    Scripture tells us that we have to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, that we must first submit to God and then and only then we can resist the devil, in other words him who controls the world and its ideologies and philosophies. He controls them because they are his creation. He has corrupted men’s thoughts and ideas which have given way to ideologies and philosophies contrary to God.

    Look at what James says and in what context he says it:

    James 4:1-7 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    You see, James says people sin because they are selfish and they lust after things that are not good,this is connected with being friends of the world and therefore enemies of God. This is why people need to humble themselves before God,that’s what grace produces, yet submission to God is resisting the devil and submitting to God means to allow God to transform us His way and we have seen that is by the renewal of our minds.

    If we don’t begin to think like God thinks then we cannot resist the devil and he will not flee from us, if we do not think like God thinks we will not be transformed, if we don’t develop the mind of Christ we will continue to act carnally, we will continue to believe lies and false doctrines and we will continue to absorb and believe the world’s ideologies and philosophies.

    The greatest reason why there is very little spiritual discernment left in the church is for this very reason. We saw even before that lukewarmness causes spiritual blindness which is lack of spiritual discernment. Christians are to proud to allow God to change their minds because they lean on their own understanding and they do not acknowledge God in ALL their ways.
    Yet, that’s exactly contrary to what God tells us to do in His word.

    Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

    You see this is actually the Old Testament equivalent of the verses we are studying in Romans 12:1-2.

    We cannot,must not lean upon our own understanding, this is the equivalent of renewing our minds, we must acknowledge God in all our ways, that is the equivalent of not being conformed to this world as well as not to be wise in our own eyes and fearing the Lord and departing from evil is equivalent to not being conformed to the world and the exhortation to be transformed.

    In fact when we are talking about the renewal of our mind Proverbs also tells us that in fact the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge.

    Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    Whoever and even us, when we despise God’s wisdom and instruction are fools.

    The only true source of knowledge, wisdom and instruction is God and we can get that ONLY through and by God’s word.

    This also leads us into the understanding of how we are to transform our mind.

    This passage we are studying raises questions that the word of God gives us answers for.

    Paul says to present our bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God which is our reasonable service to God, so a person asks, how do I do that? Then Paul says by not being conformed to the world. So the next question is OK, how are we to do this? By being transformed? How are we transformed? By the renewal of our mind. So how do we renew our mind? Through and by the word of God, that’s the only way we can and will renew our mind and the only way we can and will be transformed.

    However, before getting into this I wanted to look at what are these ideologies and philosophies of the world we are not to be conformed to.

    We have already seen that we must not engage and indulge in obvious sinful behavior, let’s take a quick look at what this sinful behavior is.

    There are five specific lists in the New Testament epistles and they are the following:

    The first one we have already seen it in:

    Romans 1:29-31 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

    The second list of sinful behavior is found in:

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    The third list is found in:

    Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    The fourth list is written in:

    1 Timothy 1:8-11 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    The fifth and final list is found in:

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

    So as we see the lists are clear, there is no misunderstanding as to the meaning of any of these words which describe the human sinful behavior.

    We are to repent, to turn away from these actions and to avoid them. Now it dos not mean that sometimes we don’t act upon these works of the flesh, we have seen that our bodies have sin that dwells in them so if we yield to the lust of our flesh rather than submit to God’s will we will still sin.

    I know that a lot of people don’t want to hear this but the Scripture tells us however that the sin in pour bodies is dwelt by God’s grace and forgiveness we have in Christ and that there is no longer condemnation for that sin for those who are in Christ, see Romans 7:21-25; Romans 8:1-4.

    However we are to submit to God and to resist sin and the devil, we are to avoid sin and to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices dedicated to righteousness.

    Even all this sinful behavior now has to be avoided not by sheer will power but by the power the Holy Spirit gives us, however, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to resist sin and avoid it when we submit to God and we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

    You see, our minds, are our psyche, and that part of our being is part of our body, our physical being, so in order to make our bodies work the mind is involved in almost all things. Our minds control our bodies, our minds control our emotions and our actions. So our minds are the key to making our bodies submit to God’s will.

    This is how things work in us humans, we perceive and filter and retain everything through our minds. Our minds are the control center of our being. Our minds should control our emotions because they should affect our behavior.

    When the mind does not control our emotions but rather our emotions control our behavior that is when we sin. Emotions are actually neutral and they are God given to all humans. However when the emotions control the mind they end up affecting our behavior in a negative way. This also happens because our minds are not programmed properly.

    It works like this. Sin is actually in our mind, our mind was programmed to sin by our sinful nature and by the outside influence of the world’s ideologies and philosophies. So God needs to renew our mind by His word and giving us the mind of Christ because otherwise we will yield to sin and our behavior will reflect the state of our mind. As I said before emotions are neutral, let’s take anger for example, anger is a natural emotion but it’s how our mind reacts to it that determines what we do with it.

    When we yield to sin in us then the mind will respond to anger in a sinful manner, this often leads to act out uncontrolled anger which manifests itself in violence, abuse and often even murder.

    This is an example of how our minds controlled by sin cause us to sin, we yield to sin in our mind and our mind then controls our behavior.

    Yet if our minds are renewed by God’s word and we yield by submission by the power of the Spirit of God to the word of God also now in our renewed minds we will avoid sinning even when we are angry.

    Anger is an emotion not a sin, in fact God’s word says:

    Ephesians 4:26-27 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.

    As we see being angry is not a sin because the Scripture gives us leeway to being angry but it commands us to not to sin while angry. In fact it says not to stay angry for long, because if we sin in our anger and we hold on to our anger for too long the devil will get a foothold in our, watch now. In our minds and he will creep in with his temptations to cause us to sin even more.

    Satan knows that who controls the mind controls us. If we allow him to have control with his ideologies and philosophies of the world he will slowly build fortresses in our minds and he will entrench his ideas and deceptions and doctrines in our minds and then he will be able to control them easily.

    Let’s talk about this mind control issue because it’s really of utmost importance. Satan has almost totally hijacked the world and all of its psychological structure. Satan has taken over the minds of man and has established his ideas by taking control of man’s minds and then placing strategically mind controlled men and women in high places, in places where his ideologies and philosophies can have the impact. One of his specialties is to sow these high things that proudly exalt themselves against the knowledge of God by mixing right ideas with false ideas as to camouflage his lies by having them accepted by the majority as the truth.

    Satan though not only does this in a subtle way, he works on every front. He is not afraid though to smear God’s truth directly and blatantly also. He knows how to operate his lies, he knows that for some people he will have to inject some truth with the lies in order to make them more subtle and palatable and easy to accept. For others instead he knows that he can just sow doubts around God’s truth and these will fail to believe God and will believe the next lie, the one that comes after the doubt.

    For others instead he knows he can just sow his blatant and obvious lies and they will believe them anyway. They will believe them because, even though they clearly and obviously violate openly God’s truth, they believe the obvious lies because these people hate God and all that God says, and stands for, because they hate God’s truth so they embrace the lies because the lies suit their own sinful nature and as I said because they hate God and His truth so that when Satan sows his lies they love them because they contradict God’s truth and they offend God.

    Satan’s strategies are varied and yet Scripture tells us: 2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

    We are not ignorant of his devices, his devices are mostly that he sows lies around, lies and more lies. Satan is the father of lies and Jesus said he cannot say the truth because the truth is not in him.

    John 8:43-44 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

    We need to understand that all philosophies and ideologies that are sown in the world are Satan’s ways to bring persons far away from God’s truth.

    Let’s look at a few of these and their meaning:

    Humanism: The philosophy or life stance of secular humanism (alternatively known by some adherents as Humanism, specifically with a capital H to distinguish it from other forms of humanism) embraces human reason, ethics, social justice and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making. Secular humanism posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. It does not, however, assume that humans are either inherently evil or innately good, nor does it present humans as being superior to nature. Rather, the humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions. Fundamental to the concept of secular humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology—be it religious or political—must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith. Along with this, an essential part of secular humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy. Many Humanists derive their moral codes from a philosophy of utilitarianism, ethical naturalism, or evolutionary ethics, and some, such as Sam Harris, advocate a science of morality.

    Humanism is the main philosophy which eliminates anything that is related to God and His word and places the emphasis on human acquired knowledge. This philosophy eliminates God and makes man the center of everything it also takes science and elevates this otherwise wonderful subject that is designed to declare the glory of God and makes it to be in the place of God’s word and knowledge. Humanism makes man god and nature the giver of the information that only works if and when it’s interpreted by the sages of mankind, in other words scientists, as they are the humans with higher knowledge and it is therefore afforded to them to be considered the saviors of the world.

    This philosophy is the reason why higher education has become the gnosis of man. In fact it is modern day Gnosticism, it’s really Gnosticism repackaged and recycled with a different label. Humanism eliminates the need for God and for acquiring our knowledge from God’s word.

    For example, evolutionary ethics has given way to another ideology that is demonic and wicked which is called Eugenics. I would like to really take some time here to explain the expansion of this demonic ideology in the world and especially in the United States.

    Eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population. It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization and the elimination of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics), or both.

    The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined. The definition of it as a “social philosophy that is, a philosophy with implications for social order—it is not universally accepted, and was taken from Frederick Osborn’s 1937 journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”.

    While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as Ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in the United Kingdom and spread to many countries, including the United States and most European countries. In this period, eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum.

    Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies meant to improve the genetic stock of their countries. Such programs often included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization and more of people deemed unfit for reproduction.

    People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups.

    The eugenics movement became associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust when many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the US eugenics programs.

    And let me say that they were absolutely right. Just substitute the Jewish population and the others who the Nazi’s were trying to exterminate with other minorities in place today in the US which are being systematically exterminated. (M.C.)

    In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually abandoned eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them the United States, continued to carry out forced sterilizations. Since the 1980s and 1990s when new assisted reproductive technology procedures became available, such as gestational surrogacy (available since 1985), pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (available since 1989) and cytoplasmic transfer (first performed in 1996), fear about a possible future revival of eugenics and a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor has emerged.

    The issue with eugenics policies is that, regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” these policies are used, they are vulnerable to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power.

    Negative eugenics in particular is a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduce and murder by abortion.

    In fact this ideology has become widely accepted by most nations and has been deemed a good thing by most governments. All it is is population control which is however mostly racially practiced and encouraged. In simple words, the political elite that supports this idea and makes it practiced has convinced society that this is good for the world and that this practice is actually a human right but in reality it is who supports and advertises this practice as good are the ones who are racists and racially motivated to control minorities through these procedures.

    Margaret Sanger, a liberal white woman, was the greatest promoter of this ideology in the USA. I would like to take a quick look at her history so we can really understand the wicked and underlined evil and racism that she spread through her deceptive ways.

    Obviously her ideas and philosophy has been today adopted by the liberal secular humanist elite and it has spread in the world like the societal cancer that it is.

    At a March 1925 international birth control gathering in New York City, a speaker warned of the menace posed by the “black” and “yellow” peril. The man was not a Nazi or a Klansman; he was Dr. S. Adolphus Knopf, a member of Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League (ABCL), which along with other groups eventually became known as Planned Parenthood.

    While Planned Parenthood’s current apologists try to place some distance between the eugenics and birth control movements, history definitively says otherwise. The eugenic theme figured prominently in the Birth Control Review, which Sanger founded in 1917.

    Though once a social pariah group, routinely castigated by religious and government leaders, the PPFA is now an established, high-profile, well-funded organization with ample organizational and ideological support in high places of American society and government.

    Its statistics are accepted by major media and public health officials as “gospel”; its full-page ads appear in major newspapers; its spokespeople are called upon to give authoritative analyses of what America’s family policies should be and to prescribe official answers that congressmen, state legislator and Supreme Court justices all accept as “social orthodoxy.”

    It was in 1939 that Sanger’s larger vision for dealing with the reproductive practices of black Americans emerged. After the January 1939 merger of her Clinical Research Bureau and the ABCL to form the Birth Control Federation of America, Dr. Clarence J. Gamble was selected to become the BCFA regional director for the South. Dr. Gamble, of the soap-manufacturing Procter and Gamble company, was no newcomer to Sanger’s organization. He had previously served as director at large to the predecessor ABCL.

    Gamble lost no time and drew up a memorandum in November 1939 entitled “Suggestion for Negro Project.” Acknowledging that black leaders might regard birth control as an extermination plot, he suggested that black leaders be placed in positions where it would appear that they were in charge this was at an Atlanta conference.

    It is evident from the rest of the memo that Gamble conceived the project almost as a traveling road show. A charismatic black minister was to start a revival, with “contributions” to come from other local cooperating ministers. A “colored nurse” would follow, supported by a subsidized “colored doctor.” Gamble even suggested that music might be a useful lure to bring the prospects to a meeting.

    Margaret Sanger answered Gamble on Dec. 10. 1939, agreeing with the assessment. She wrote: “We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten that idea out if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

    In 1940, money for two “Negro Project” demonstration programs in southern states was donated by advertising magnate Albert D. Lasker and his wife, Mary.

    But the moral stumbling block could only be surmounted by Afro-American religious leaders, so black ministers were solicited. Florence Rose, long-time Sanger secretary, prepared an activities report during March 1942 detailing the progress of the “Negro Project.” She recounted a recent meeting with a Planned Parenthood Negro Division board member, Bishop David H. Sims (African Methodist Episcopal Church), who appreciated Planned Parenthood’s recognition of the extent of black opposition to birth control and its efforts to build up support among black leaders. He offered whatever assistance he could give.

    Bishop Sims offered to begin the “softening process” among the representatives of different Negro denominations attending the monthly meetings of the Federal Council of Churches and its Division of Race Relations. These and other efforts paid off handsomely after World War II. By 1949, virtually the entire black leadership network of religious, social, professional, and academic organizations had endorsed Planned Parenthood’s program.
    More than a decade later, Planned Parenthood continued targeting minority communities, but without much success.

    In 1940, nonwhite women aged 18 to 19 experienced 61 births per 1,000 unmarried women. In 1968, the corresponding figure was 112 per 1,000, a 100 percent jump. What other factor could account for the increased rate of sexual activity than wider access to birth control, with its promise of sex without fears and consequences?

    Alan Guttmacher, then president of Planned Parenthood, was desperate to show policy-makers that birth control would produce a situation whereby “minority groups who constantly out breed the majority will no longer persist in doing so. . . ”

    Despite claims that racial or ethnic groups were not being “targeted,” American blacks, among whose ranks a greater proportion of the poor were numbered, received a high priority in Planned Parenthood’s nationwide efforts.

    Donald B. Strauss, chairman of Planned Parenthood World Population, urged the 1964 Democratic national Convention to liberalize the party’s stated policies on birth control, and to adopt domestic and foreign policy platform resolutions to conform with long-sought San gerite goals: [While almost one-fourth of nonwhite parents have four or more children under 18 living with them, only 8% of the white couples have that many children living at home. For the Negro parent in particular, the denial of access to family planning professional guidance forecloses one more avenue to family advancement and well-being.

    Unwanted children would not get the job training and educational skills they needed to compete in a shrinking labor market; moreover, unwanted children are a product and a cause of poverty.

    Surveying the “successes” of tax-subsidized birth control programs, Guttmacher noted in 1970 that “Birth control services are proliferating in areas adjacent to concentrations of black population.”

    (In the 1980’s, targeting the inner-city black communities for school based sex clinics became more sensitive than expected.)

    Guttmacher thought that as long as the birth rate continued to fall or remained at a low level, Planned Parenthood should certainly be introduced before family size by coercion is attempted.”
    Reaching this goal, he thought, would best be accomplished by having groups other than the PPFA preach the doctrine of a normative 2.1-child family, as doing this would offend Planned Parenthood’s minority clients. He suggested that family size would decrease if abortion were liberalized nationwide and received government support. In this prediction he was right on target.

    But Guttmacher did not completely reject forced population control: Predicting 20 critical years ahead in the struggle to control the population explosion, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, president of Planned parenthood World Population, continues to urge the use of all voluntary means to hold down on the world birthrate. But he foresees the possibility that eventual coercion may become necessary, particularly in areas where the pressure is greatest, possibly India and China. “Each country,” he says, “will have to decide its own form of coercion, and determine when and how it should be employed. At Present, the means are compulsory sterilization and compulsory abortion. Perhaps some day a way of enforcing compulsory birth control will be feasible. Coerced abortion is already practiced in China, with the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s approval.

    Despite its past, Planned Parenthood has managed to present the image of toleration and minority participation through the vehicle of its divorced, telegenic, African American president, Ms. Faye Wattleton, appointed titular head of the PPFA in 1978, a post she still holds. Though paid in the six-figure range, she has impeccable minority credentials that would have fit the public relations criteria for both Margaret Sanger and Dr. Clarence Gamble.

    Wattleton’s PPFA biography touts her as a friend of the “Poor and the young”; a nurse at Harlem Hospital; and the recipient of the 1989 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Humanitarian Award and the World Institute of Black Communicators’ 1986 Excellence in Black Communications Award. It further states she was featured in a national photography exhibit, “I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America”; interviewed in Ebony; and was the cover story in Black Enterprise magazine. (Time published a profile of Wattleton in 1990 entitled “Nothing Less Than Perfect.”)

    Her ideological orientation has received certification in the form of the Better World Society’s 1989 Population Model, the 1986 American Humanist Award, and others. But surely, the spectacle of the Congressional Black Caucus awarding its humanitarian award to the black woman who presides over the organization that has hastened and justified the death of almost thirteen million black children since 1973 and facilitates the demise of the black family, is ironic in the extreme.

    The book Killer Angel tells the real story behind one of the biggest myths that controls our culture today the life and legacy of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Grant exposes “the Big Lie” perpetuated by Sanger’s followers and the organization she started.

    Through detailed research and concise writing, Grant unveils Sanger’s true character and ideology, which included blatant racism, revolutionary socialism, sexual perversion and insatiable greed. Grant includes direct quotes from sources such as Sanger’s Birth Control Review to support his findings. His biography spans Sanger’s disturbed and unhappy upbringing which Sanger said contributed to her agitation and bitterness later in life to her eventual fixation with drugs, alcohol and the occult.

    Particularly shocking was Sanger’s involvement in the Eugenics movement. Grant says: “[Sanger] was thoroughly convinced that the inferior races’ were in fact human weeds’ and a menace to civilization.’ . . . She was a true believer, not simply someone who assimilated the jargon of the times as Planned Parenthood officials would have us believe.”

    Sanger died September 6, 1966, a week before her eighty-seventh birthday. Grant says: “She had nearly fulfilled her early boast that she would spend every last penny of Slee’s [her second husband] fortune. In the process, though, she had lost everything else: love, happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment, family, and friends. In the end, her struggle was her naught.”

    The truth uncovered in grant’s book has proven to be a threat to those who follow the cult of :Planned Parenthood.

    In fact, Killer Angel was recently banned from a public library in Toledo, Ohio. A library manager stated in a letter that, “The author’s political and social agenda, which is strongly espoused throughout the book, is not appropriate even in a critical biography of its subject.”

    In response, Grant pointed out that “The question at hand is whether librarians should be making subjective judgments about my political beliefs and the beliefs of other authors.”

    By censoring Killer Angel, the library appears to be violating its own policies, which state that, “the Library collection shall include representative materials of all races and nationalities, and all political, religious, economic and social views.” Except Christian views, apparently.

    The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has grown to an organization with 129 affiliates. It operates 875 health centers and serves about 5 million women each year. Planned Parenthood has been a leader in the fight for women’s right to choose and in providing access to affordable reproductive health care for a cross-section of women. Planned Parenthood has not supported forced sterilization or restricted immigration and has gently rejected the most extreme of Sanger’s views.

    In many ways, Sanger is no different from contemporary feminists who, after making the customary acknowledgment of issues dealing with race and class, return to analysis that focuses exclusively on gender. These are the feminists who feel that women should come together around “women’s issues” and battle out our differences later. In failing to acknowledge differences and the differential impact of a set of policies, these feminists make it difficult for women to come together.

    End of article.

    The differential between the abortion ratio for black women and that for white women has increased from 2.0 in 1989 (the first year for which black and other races were reported separately) to 3.0 in 2000. In addition, the abortion rate for black women has been approximately 3 times as high as that for white women since 1991. These rates by race are substantially lower than rates previously published by NCHS and suggest that the reporting areas for the 2000 report might not be fully representative of the U.S. black female population of reproductive age. Census Bureau estimates and birth certificate data indicate that the large majority of Hispanic women report themselves as white. Therefore, data for some white women actually represent Hispanic women, which distorts the numbers.

    Not only are black children being killed at a far greater percentage than white children, it’s possible they’re being killed in greater numbers, period. Is that not shocking?! Though the white population in the U.S. outnumbers the black population five to one, abortion may well be killing more black children each day than white children. John Piper, a white pastor with a heart for racial justice, remarks on the disparity of abortion this way:

    The de facto effect (I don’t call it the main cause, but net effect) of putting abortion clinics in the urban centers is that the abortion of Hispanic and Black babies is more than double their percentage of the population. Every day 1,300 black babies are killed in America. Seven hundred Hispanic babies die every day from abortion. Call this what you will—when the slaughter has an ethnic face and the percentages are double that of the white community and the killers are almost all white, something is going on here that ought to make the lovers of racial equality and racial harmony wake up

    Ms. King refers to abortion as genocide. Rev. Clenard H. Childress, Jr. goes further and refers to black genocide. In 2002, he birthed a website by and for African Americans called Blackgenocide.org. The lament at that website reads like this (referring to statistics in 2002):

    [The] incidence of abortion has resulted in a tremendous loss of life. It has been estimated that since 1973 Black women have had about 10 million abortions [probably up to 13 million now]. Michael Novak . . . calculated, “Since the number of current living Blacks (in the U.S.) is 31 million, the missing 10 million represents an enormous loss, for without abortion, America’s Black community would now number 41 million persons. It would be 35 percent larger than it is. Abortion has swept through the Black community like a scythe, cutting down every fourth member.”

    So we have seen clearly here how Satanic/humanistic ideologies and philosophies intertwine with each other to form a whole thought system which coupled with mankind’s sinful nature spawns demonic behavior and this is the world system’s ways. Whatever, whoever controls your mind is what will control your behavior.

    Another sabotaged and derailed subject which also intertwines and becomes part of the wicked and demonic ideologies and philosophies is science.

    Science at one time walked hand in hand with Scripture and actually the two do not at all contradict each other when they are taken seriously together. In the past almost all scientists were actually Christians but with the age of enlightenment all this began to change. The age of enlightenment gave way to many different philosophic ideologies and has given birth by many philosophers who promoted humanistic and secular ideologies. It was at this time that people began to believe that, according to them, it was possible for man to eliminate God from all spheres of life and to be ruled by a completely humanistic morality and ethics.

    Science then little by little has become a sort of faith. Science in the hands of ungodly people who deny the existence and the necessity of God, have made science a real religious belief where nature itself is god and scientists its interpreters or as we should say, the theologians of the universe.

    The very demonic Darwinian theory of evolution is a complete and totally falsehood which was designed, again to brainwash people in a belief system devoid of God. This theory obviously denies the existence of God and makes God the creator obsolete, this together with the big-bang theory have literally created a godless creation that rules itself by sheer chance and by the famous survival of the fittest. These obviously are all falsehoods, but even scientists cannot make them real facts because they are not and so they are and remain theories and not real facts. Therefore as they say that God’s existence and biblical creation can only be accepted by faith, they yet do not realize that their very theories must be also accepted by faith because they cannot be proved by real scientific facts.

    The theory of evolution therefore is actually connected inexorably to the eugenic ideology. It is the theory of evolution birthed by secular humanism originated by the enlightenment era that causes eugenics to thrive. Eugenics is mankind taking the helm and control of racial selection and thinking that by implementing this ideology man can first limit certain races from growing and by making better human beings by selection. They think thus that they are helping and hastening man’s evolutionary process and making mankind better.

    Well, we see how that’s really working in the world, it’s not!

    Now however science as I said has become a real religion it’s evangelists are the schools. Here children are brainwashed making them believe the false gospel of evolution. Hence doing this not so much indirectly they condition children to deny the existence of God and to accept the false god of universal matter and believe the preachers of such religion, scientists.

    As we see though what Scripture tells us regarding this:

    Psalm 19:1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.
    2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

    Creation declares the glory of God and even though it has no real audible speech it’s voice is yet heard and that voice says God IS, God exists and God is the creator.

    Scripture goes telling us and we have already studied this concept when Paul speaks of this concept in Romans 1. He uses other words but he is in essence saying what Psalm 19 says and also he is actually saying exactly what we have seen regarding the secular humanist ideology and the theory of evolution which is the scientists’ gospel.

    Romans 1:18-23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.

    Let’s see this passage again in the light of what we are studying here. As we have seen almost all scientists are the promoters of the false gospel and false god the universe and the theory of evolution. These also are men who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness. These men and women study God’s creation, they study the heavens, they study man, they study anatomy and psychology, they have first hand under their noses all that God has created, within themselves they have the knowledge of God by being created in God’s image and likeness and having written in their hearts God’s moral law they are without excuse in their denial of God’s existence. As verse 22 says that they profess themselves to be the sages, the wise men of the world and instead they have become fools.

    However, we see that the world sucked into Satanic created ideologies spread in the minds of men, embrace these lies as facts, they accept the damning false gospel of the scientists and actually elevate them to the status of gods. Look at how people view doctors and also how a lot of doctors view themselves, they are considered and consider themselves demigods with the power over people’s health and death and life.
    If you think about it properly the demonic ideology of eugenics from whence abortion comes from is man who thinks he is God and that has the power to decide who lives and who dies. This is mankind guided by science and doctors that believes that he can manipulate the racial selection and the population so they have the ultimate power over life and death, thing that only God should have.

    I am not saying that God didn’t give us a blessing in medicine but as usual as man does he takes a blessing and turns it into a curse or into ungodliness, even because a lot of doctors do not believe in God. As with everything we have to place things into the proper perspective. Medicine is a blessing and as believers we must keep that in the forefront of our minds and hearts and although we can give credit to doctors and medicine for health improvements we must remember that people’s lives and health are ultimately in God’s hands and not in the hands of the doctors. People still remain sick and die even when doctors and medicine do all they can and know. This proves their limitation and it proves that ultimately we pray for healing and we can thank doctors but we give God all the glory.

    Let’s also look at another very important sector of science that Satan uses very aptly to inject his venomous ideologies and his mind control.

    Psychology and Psychiatry.

    Psychology and Psychiatry are considered by many people in the world necessary things to help people who have some kind of emotional and or psychological problem and or mental illness.

    Now, let me say that some things which these sciences have discovered are by all means interesting and even true perhaps useful to a degree. Unfortunately though let me say this, and I know it will be something that will be met with great resistance and even disagreement.

    Psychology and Psychiatry are inherently useless to cure a person’s emotional and psychological problems.

    Let me say it this way, this type of counseling strictly done by unbelievers and without the counsel of God’s word and prayer become mostly a band-aid for the problems but never become the real definitive cure for the person’s psychological and emotional problems.

    For an unbeliever these sciences are indispensable because they cannot and will not submit to God’s word and His power. So obviously unbelievers find that they need psychological counseling and often even drugs to be able to cope with their emotional and psychological issues.

    There are few cases of mental and emotional distress that some times require the use of medicine so that the persons may respond better to godly counseling. For example, a few of these issues can be schizophrenia, bipolar ism and manic depressive illness.

    However, let me say that often the medicine is required because Christian counseling and prayer are lacking even when the case presents itself in Christians. Often, too often, pastors are not properly qualified and trained to counsel people with such problems so it becomes evident that they will have to refer believers to doctors who will prescribe medicines. There are specifically good Christian counselors, but they are not to be labeled as psychologists.

    The issue is that a person needs to be fully and thoroughly vetted to see whether the problem is actually spiritual or if it’s physical or both. If the issue is both, then counseling with God’s word and prayer are necessary and medicine can also be necessary. If the person’s problem is only spiritual then it needs to be addressed through and by the word of God and prayer, if the problem is only physical then only medicine may be necessary.

    In most cases the issues are spiritual and in some cases they are both. In the believer’s case it is imperative that biblical counseling be a must. In many cases pastors do a great disservice to believers by just bypassing the spiritual counseling and often, too often refer believers to unbelieving psychiatrists just so people could get medicated. They erroneously think that just by them getting medicine all will be OK.

    This is as far from the truth as it can be. Scripture tell us that God’s word is what we all need to prosper and to be spiritually and mentally healthy, it’s not the science of psychology and psychiatry that can ever make someone well.

    Scripture says:

    Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

    As we see believers should not ever walk in the counsel of the ungodly. What is the counsel of the ungodly? That would be what secular and non believing counselors and doctors are. Oh now people go into an uproar and may question this fact.

    Look, anyone, I mean anyone who is not in Christ, may be a nice person on the surface, yet the Bible says they are ungodly. Ungodly, means without God.

    Remember what the Bible says? There are only two categories of people in this world, godly and ungodly, believers and unbelievers. In fact only sinners are born into the world, sinners are ungodly and wicked, so for all intents and purposes everyone is ungodly and wicked until they are redeemed, regenerated, converted by God through faith in Christ. See Romans 3:10-18; Romans 3:23.

    When a person walks in the counsel of the ungodly it signifies that they receive advise that affects their mind in an ungodly way.

    Psychological and Psychiatric counsel outside of Gods’ word uses nothing but the counsel of the ungodly. Humanistic advise cannot lead a person in the right path, only Godly counseling by the word of God aided by God’s power is uniquely qualified to bring lasting and permanent healing and remedy for what ails us.

    Only God’s word is qualified to bring permanent changes in people’s behavior. God wants to set us free completely not keep us in a state of continued dependence on medicines or people, especially when it comes to things that concern the mind. God wants us to be dependent only on Him and His word but He wants to bring lasting freedom and healing.

    John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    The truth of God’s word frees us from the bondage of sin, wrong thinking, ideologies of the world and false doctrines,God’s power can and often will set us free from physical sickness and also mental.

    The first step for the healing of mental illnesses is salvation, being born again of the Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit will free us from the presence and influences of demonic power which very often cause many mental and physical problems. If we have read the Gospels we realize that the presence and the power of the Spirit of God in the person of Jesus Christ freed and healed many by their mental illnesses which were such because in reality they were demonic possessions. Many mental illnesses, not all but many are demonic possession and or oppression.

    A very good example of this in Scripture is found regarding a man whom Jesus freed from demonic possession as Scripture shows us in:

    Mark 5:1-9 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshiped him, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many

    OK let’s stop here to look at some important things. First of all this man lives in a cemetery, so we see that there is a connection with the dead, death and this man. The Scripture tells us also that he has an unclean spirit which is another was to say that he is possessed by a demonic spirit. We also understand that he has a superhuman physical strength. This is also a sign that is found in demoniac people but it is also a trait found in people who according to psychiatry have some type of mental issues. In fact even the obsession with the dead and death is seen as mental illness. So we see here that we find already two traits of a demon possessed man that are also present in those considered mentally ill by the science of psychiatry and psychology. He cries out constantly that is another trait of mental illness. He cut himself with stones. There are several diagnosed mental illnesses in which people try to cut themselves or hurt themselves. One specific one is called cutting, this illness is particular as it entitles a person cutting themselves. So we see this is yet another trait of those who are considered mentally ill by psychiatry.

    Now let me ask, can this man be considered mentally ill? Psychiatry says yes and yet the Bible says yes as well. However, we need to ascertain what is the cause of the mental illness this man has. Is it caused by a physical issue? No! It’s caused by demonic possession. So let me ask now, could psychiatry and medicine cure this man? The answer is no!

    How did this man get healed?

    Mark 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

    First of all we see this man had many demons possessing him. A legion of demons is a lot of demons.

    A Roman legion was formed by 4500 men. Just saying!

    In any event whether it was 4500 or just many the fact is they were a lot. The power of God, Jesus casts them out of him. There would have been no amount of medicine that would have cured this man.

    Look at what the Scripture says about this man after Jesus heals him and casts out the demons.

    Mark 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

    This passage claims what we have been saying all along, this man was mentally ill, now after Jesus delivers him the Scripture says the man is in his right mind.

    Now let me just say this, today in the church we need to carefully test the spirits in people to see if the person needs spiritual deliverance or medical cure for their mental issues.

    I believe and this opens up a whole new issue and I do not want to take a great amount of time here but need to briefly address it.

    The healing and demonic deliverance Jesus and the Apostles performed were done for a specific reason. These signs and wonders were done in Israel first as a sign to Israel that Jesus is Messiah and that these signs in Israel were the Messianic signs that indicated to Israel that the Kingdom of God had come and was at hand. Even after Jesus ascended into heaven and the Apostles continued to perform these signs and wonders they were performed as a sign to Israel still that the Gospel, Jesus and the Apostles were from God and they still offered the possibility to Israel to believe in Messiah and obtain the Kingdom to them promised Acts 3:12-26.

    We know how that went, they did not and still don’t believe. So as God turned to the nations to save people of all nations trough the church all the visible signs and wonders diminished until they actually subsided.

    Now having said this I did say visible signs and wonders. These were sings and wonders expressly done for Israel. Today Jesus and His Spirit still perform those sings and wonders but they are not openly visible as they were and they are spiritual in nature rather than physical. In fact what Jesus did physically in Israel He continues to do spiritually everywhere because the Kingdom of God although not completed yet, as Israel is still missing from the New Covenant, nevertheless it’s present still in a spiritual way in and through the church.

    So that Jesus still gives life to the dead when He saves a person, He makes them alive Ephesians 2:1-10; gives eternal life which is what counts in the end see just for a few on this John 5:21-26; John 11:25; John 17:2-3. Jesus raises the spiritually dead. Jesus gives spiritual hearing to the spiritually deaf,
    those who can otherwise not hear God’s voice or word. Jesus still opens the eyes of the blind.

    The spiritually blind cannot see the Kingdom of God but when God saves us we get our spiritual sight
    2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:40;

    John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    In order to even see the Kingdom of God one must be born again, in other words must be saved and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual eyesight is given to us through the regeneration or the new birth which comes from the Holy Spirit in the moment a person is saved. Rest assured no one can hear God’s word and therefore understand it, no one can see spiritual truths in other words the spiritual Kingdom of God unless they are saved, truly saved.

    So Jesus still heals raises the dead, gives hearing to the deaf and sight to the blind.

    Jesus also and still today opens the mouth of the dumb and makes them speak. The natural man does speak but he speaks a language that God although hears does not consider acceptable. Man is basically speechless in a spiritual sense. Man does not say anything godly nor does he say anything that gives glory to God. In other words it’s as if he were dumb, mute when it comes to spiritual things that matter to God

    Romans 3:13-14 Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

    This is the state of the spiritually dumb people. They cannot speak a language God accepts.

    Oh but when people become saved and regenerated by the Holy Spirit however they immediately receive their voice and with it they proclaim the glory of God, with them now they preach the Gospel and they testify about God’s salvation and glory, with their voices when before they only offered blasphemies and curses they now offer praises to God.

    Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied

    Acts 10:44-46 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

    As we see salvation and the presence of the Holy Spirit opens the mouths to praise and glorify God. Where before silence was present in a voice to God now there are praises and prophesying and the proclaiming of the Gospel.

    So Jesus still today raises the dead, gives hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind and He still opens the mouth of the dumb.

    How about the lame? Yes, Jesus still restores the lame. The natural man is incapacitated to move at all to do God’s will. Spiritually speaking he is paralyzed. His or her legs will not move to do anything worth while for God. Nothing at all.

    The natural man has to in a sort of sense be dragged or brought in a symbolic wheel chair to ever go to church. Unsaved people will not move when it comes to spiritual things. Jesus healing the paralyzed and the lame was a reality in a physical sense but it was almost always shown connected to a spiritual reality.

    Let’s look at what the Word of God says about this:

    Mark 2:1-5 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. 3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

    As we see clearly here the forgiveness of this man’s sins through faith in Christ gave way to his healing. Now this is not always to be connected to physical healing and forgiveness of sin, although often they may go hand in hand, in fact see James 5:14-16.

    However the physical healing in connection with salvation is a symbol of what occurs in the spiritual realm and in the spirit of a person which later affects the behavior of the person.

    Another passage like the last one we find also in:

    John 5:1-9 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

    Salvation brings the spiritually lame and paralyzed people to be able to walk and move for God were as before they were impotent spiritually speaking.

    Scripture tells us that beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news of peace, that is the Gospel, see Romans 10:15.

    So when Jesus still today raises the spiritually dead, gives hearing to the spiritually deaf, gives sight to the spiritually blind and heals the spiritually lame and paralyzed then we ask, does He not still do all the things He did when He walked in Israel? The answer is clear, yes Jesus still does all this today in a spiritual reality.

    You know the irony of all this is that there are those in the church who still look desperately for the outward physical signs and wonders while they totally ignore and minimize the more important ones, the spiritual ones.

    The church although is a real physical entity on earth however is the one who should be in charge of the spiritual well being of people. This does not mean we should not look to the physical well being of people but that has always been a secondary concern for God. In reality the reason we find signs and wonders and healing during Jesus ministry and that of the Apostles is because they were presenting and offering the state of people in the Messianic Kingdom which they were still offering to Israel.

    The church, until the return of Messiah and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom and subsequent salvation of Israel, should be concerned with the spiritual life of believers more than the physical life. This as I said does not mean we should not pray for physical healing but the physical healing is a secondary concern even to God. Not unimportant yet secondary. Whereas as I said before most of the church seeks the physical health and miracles than the spiritual one.

    This takes us back to what we were talking about regarding the mental health and healing of a person. This whole discourse of the healing Jesus performed and still performs in a spiritual sense is to make the point that when a person becomes saved and is regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit this person is healed entirely in the same way Jesus healed people then.

    One part that we saw was the casting out of demons and the deliverance from demonic possession.

    This still happens today every time, let me repeat, every time a person is truly regenerated and saved a person is delivered by demon possession. It’s an automatic occurrence! A person cannot be indwelled by the Holy Spirit and still be possessed by demons, it’s a spiritual impossibility.

    Wherever Jesus was present the demons fled, if His Spirit is present demons will flee.

    I am saying all this because when a person sits in a church they may not necessarily be saved. They may still be possessed by demons and this may manifest in mental illness as we have seen it often does.

    So it is the spiritual duty of the leaders, pastors and elders together to check the spiritual health of the sheep of God, that’s why they are called shepherds.

    So when a person gives signs of mental illnesses the pastors must evaluate the true reason behind the illness. They must test the spirits of the person and determine what is the true reason of the manifestation.

    The pastor after having evaluated the manifestation and true spiritual condition should not engage particularly into an exorcism rather expose the person to the Gospel for the salvation of the soul. If that person receives the lordship and saving power of Jesus Christ through which the demons will flee the person will be saved and released from demonic possession. It’s the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. It’s the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that exorcises demons from a person when He comes to live in a believer. Practically there is a new homeowner now!

    When a person is saved, truly saved and has mental illness it may be demonic oppression or it may just be a truly physical reason. The demonic oppression may be caused by the person being in a state of
    un-confessed sin. Again the pastors must evaluate the person’s life through biblical counseling.

    If the mental illness is not purely physical and it’s of a spiritual nature but the person is genuinely saved then the Word of God is going to be sufficient to bring deliverance and healing.

    Look at some passages of Scripture which actually confirm the healing power of God’s word fact:

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

    Psalms 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.

    Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

    Joshua 1:7-8 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

    These are a few Scriptures that confirm the essentially healing and powerful nature of God’s word.

    In fact the passage we are now studying Romans 12:2 says to not be conformed to the ways of this world, but it also says to be transformed by the renewing of your minds.

    Here in lies the problem, our minds are conditioned by the ways of the world which is what we are looking at right now. So we see that the mind is inherently and inextricably tied into the ways of the world because the ways of the world are those which affect our minds and consequently our behavior.

    The renewal of our minds and therefore our subsequent transformation into the image of Christ occurs when we achieve the thoughts and the mind of God, the mind of Christ. This cannot be ever achieved by following any worldly advice or counseling.

    The world’s counseling and advice howbeit does not ever produce the mind of Christ, it can never produce godliness, it can never make us the way God desires that we be. The counsel and advise of the world is worldly not godly, it may temporarily or artificially modify behavior but it does not bring the lasting change that God intends.

    People can modify some things in their way of thinking, perhaps even modify some behavioral traits but will not change their minds regarding the world’s ways nor will they accept God’s way of thinking through psychology or psychiatry.

    Example: a person may be able to modify his or her drinking problem through humanistic counseling but they won’t change their other sinful ways because worldly counseling in effect holds the teaching that many ungodly behaviors and ways of thinking are perfectly acceptable.

    The world with all its knowledge cannot produce the mind of God and therefore cannot produce behavior change and transformation according to the character of God.

    The changes worldly counsel brings are actually fake, counterfeit just as religion which brings about a fake and counterfeit godliness.

    Paul said this in:

    2 Timothy 3:1-7 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
    6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    This is the perfect example Paul gives that describes in essence what we are talking about. Those who belong to the world behave in these ways described in this passage. These are some of the ways of the world and worldly counseling does not address many of these ways as being wrong. However, God thinks they are sin and He wants us to avoid these kinds of behavior while worldly counseling instead often does not see them as God sees them and does not call to avoid them.

    Worldly counsel is therefore affected by these very behaviors. People can also be religious as we see in verse 5 where it says they have a form of godliness, a religious form without the power thereof which is the true Gospel.

    These people are worldly and all they really desire is to deceive people in order to get wealthy. See these people teach things that are not leading anyone to come to the knowledge of the truth,the truth according to God.

    The truth is only the word of God, even Jesus said this:

    John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    We know that Jesus is the word of God made flesh:

    John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    2 The same was in the beginning with God.

    John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    We see then that in order to know the truth or being taught the truth which is God’s word, to get to the knowledge of the truth worldly knowledge is not ever sufficient. Rather we must know Jesus Christ, the truth and God’s word. Real change cannot occur in the lives of people who are not regenerated by God’s Spirit and who don’t have their minds renewed by the word of God.

    So those who have a form of godliness are religious but they are without Christ, without God’s word and His truth, without the Gospel which is God’s power, these can only take advantage of people who are laden down with sinfulness and who end up learning worldly things but never arrive to the knowledge of the real truth.

    Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter one, says that we cannot ever achieve knowing God and consequently His word through the knowledge that the world supplies, that’s exactly what we are talking about in this section of our study.

    The ways, the ideologies and philosophies of the world cannot in any way get one to know God and His ways and His truth.

    1 Corinthians 1:19-21 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

    Although this passage speaks about coming to know God only through the Gospel and only through the Gospel we can and will achieve salvation, however, we can also understand exactly that through the wisdom the world supplies we cannot know God and His ways.

    In fact Paul says that God has rendered the wisdom of the world foolishness, this reminds me also about what Paul had said in Romans 1 when he, speaking of the worldly wise men, the scientists, the psychologists who deny God, professing to be wise they became fools.

    So the knowledge and wisdom that the world supplies is actually foolishness, it’s opposed to God and His word.

    As we see then, psychology and psychiatry are worldly sciences and not particularly in line at all with God’s truth. In fact often these sciences are completely opposed to God’s thoughts regarding man’s mind and behavior.

    Let’s put it this way, the only true and valid study of man’s mind is not psychology or psychiatry it’s God’s word. Only the creator of man can actually know how to deal and how to heal man’s mind.

    He is the only qualified One that can tell us how to solve man’s problems. Man apart from God and without the counsel of His word cannot be qualified to solve man’s issues of the mind, man cannot in any way change man’s thinking and mostly cannot change man’s behavior. It can temporarily modify certain aspects of man’s mental and behavioral issues but cannot bring about a lasting and freeing and complete change.
    Man has many ways that seem right to him, many ways of thinking and most if not all of them are opposed to God’s. Why?

    Well we should know why! We should know because all of man’s ideologies and ways of thinking are marred and contaminated by a specific problem.

    Man’s ways of thinking and ideologies are all contaminated by man’s sinfulness.

    This occurs because man has a sinful nature that enslaves man into practicing sinfulness and that always opposes God’s ways.

    Man is deceived into thinking that his ways are the right ways but in the end his ways lead to destruction.

    Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

    If you remember or should, in the beginning God had commanded Adam that he and consequently Eve, should not eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, Genesis 2:16-17.

    We know that Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan to doubt God’s words and to disobey God’s commandment and they did.

    This by the way is Satan’s M.O. , he still does this, it’s his favorite strategy, sow enough doubt as to place God’s word in a position to not be credible, that’s what all the world’s ideologies do. They at the very least cast many doubts on the credibility of God’s word, of God’s existence, of God’s goodness and His power. This obviously since it worked once it will work all the time. In a lot of cases the world’s ideologies totally deny God and His word, but as we see that the second leg of his strategy after sowing the doubt is to totally discredit God’s word.

    Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    As we see in the passage that’s exactly what Satan does, first in verse one he casts doubt on what God said. Now, I would like to take this apart a little to understand the context of what actually happened.

    Why did Satan tempt Eve instead of Adam? Let’s look at the context of God’s commandment in chapter 2 of Genesis. We saw before that God gave this commandment to Adam before God created Eve.

    The Bible does not say when and if God gave the commandment to Eve after this episode. I believe this is important, very important. Why? He gave the commandment to Adam and it becomes obvious from what we understand of God’s creative order that man is intended by God to be the head and also the spiritual leader of the family.

    Man, the male, even in the church is supposed to be the teacher of spiritual truths. If we use these facts and what Scripture shows us about this subject and in these passages, we can come to the conclusion that Adam was the one who told Eve about what God had commanded him regarding the tree of good and evil. In fact, the very way Satan addresses Eve leads us to understand that this was the case because Satan asks Eve: “did God really say?”

    If God had also told Eve directly Eve would have known first hand what God told her and Satan could not have actually been able to cast doubt easily on what she actually heard. Let’s say he could have and he still does, but it’s more difficult to cast doubts on what one hears first hand than casting doubt on hear say.

    In fact what Satan did was that he not only caused Eve to doubt God’s word but to doubt Adam’s credibility as well.

    In fact I believe this is also the reason why God has prohibited women to be teachers and leaders in the church. In fact Paul does give us the reasons and this confirmation in:

    1 Timothy 2:11-14 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    So the first strategy Satan used is doubt casting, the second part of his strategy is outright discrediting God’s word when he said: “ You shall surely not die”

    By discrediting God’s word and His commandment Satan is calling God a liar and also eliminates the terrible consequence of disobeying God.

    The third part of Satan’s strategy is to give completely different outcomes to disobeying God and listening to him rather than the actual consequences God has given.

    The fourth and most deceiving strategy is to promise great things instead of the negative consequences of disobeying God.

    This one is what throws people over the edge from temptation to disobedience, because it was exactly Satan’s promise of better things than God promised that made Eve make the final plunge into disobedience.

    This is exactly what Satan did, first he cast doubt, then when doubt took root he discredited God’s word outright, then he gave different outcomes to disobeying God’s word, then he promised benefits instead of the consequences while all along blaming God for holding back blessing from them. By doing this not only he discredited God’s word and His warnings but he makes God look like the one that can’t be trusted.

    (This by the way if you examine it properly and attentively is exactly the same lie, strategy and method the left liberal political fringe uses to entice people to vote for them so they can climb to power and it’s still is Satan’s main way with which he deceives)

    This was exactly when and how Eve fell, look:

    Genesis 3:5-6 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    The temptation in this case was that by eating of the fruit they could raise up to be their own gods, they would become like God Himself, they could establish in their own mind what they deem to be good and evil.

    What they did not realize instead was that if they obeyed God they would have known only good and they would have been protected and spared from evil. They still would have recognized evil but they would have seen it the way God sees it and evil would not have been able to do all the damage it did in creation and mankind would have lived knowing true good and evil and avoiding evil while remaining morally and ethically godly.

    You see this is why God says not to be conformed to the ways of the world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Because you see by eating that fruit man has known evil through their cursed and sinful nature and has always chosen evil to triumph over good. Man’s sinful nature enslaved by sin, John 8:34-36; cannot choose God’s true good because true godly good is not recognized as such.
    God’s truth is actually understood and seen as a lie and man thinks that it is actually detrimental to man to do things God’s way.

    Look that’s exactly what Satan said to Eve, let’s look at it again and you will see that this is so:

    Genesis 3:5-6 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    See, God was telling them the truth when He told Adam:

    Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

    The truth was that if they ate of the fruit instead of being blessed they would be cursed and die and the truth also was that if they obeyed God they would have been blessed and safe. That’s the truth!

    Now look, Satan told them that God lied,in reality it was he who was lying, he is the father of lies,
    John 8:42-45.

    Satan told them God lied, he said: “you will not die” he was implying in fact that God’s holding back blessings from them. He was implying that God did not want them to be all that they could be. God did not want them to know what He knew because if they did then they would be like Him being able to discern and evaluate for themselves what is good and evil.

    You see Satan promised them freedom while instead he delivered them slavery. Satan promised them to be like God and the ironic thing was they already were very similar to Him, remember, in His image and likeness He created them, Genesis 1:26-27.

    Man morally and ethically was already like God, was not God but was like Him in many ways. Man was good, pure and eternal and God gave them the right to have dominion, to be rulers of the world, if they just obeyed God in one commandment. Just one!

    Man already had God’s best and needed nothing else but to have a living relationship with the living God.

    Satan wanted instead to be god and rule the universe in God’s place, look what he said, I believe even before he tempted Eve:

    Isaiah 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

    This is what he desired to be, to exalt his throne above God’s and be like the most High. This was Satan’s intention. He knew that he had to conquer mankind in order to accomplish this plan. He already incited a coup, a rebellion in the heavens among the angels, the first creatures created by God.

    He was able to convince one third of the angels to desert and side with him, see Revelation12:4.

    Now he had to subvert mankind, the other creatures God created. This time though God created man in His likeness and image and gave them dominion of the earth. Satan therefore knew that his plan to be god to be successful he had to conquer mankind and obtain lordship over man and therefore usurp man’s dominion of the earth and then he would have it. He was not able to totally conquer the heavens, that coup failed. Now he thought that if this plan was successful he would become mankind’s god in God’s place and he would have the world to rule. He figured that mankind would reject God and accept him as God instead.

    This is the real reason why Satan wanted man to fall into sin, disobey God, obey him so he would take dominion over mankind and the world and become man’s god.

    Apparently, as he did in the heavens with the angels, this plan also only worked partially. Although it seemingly appeared to work in the beginning in reality it never did and it never will.

    Nevertheless, this is the reason why Satan did what he did. In reality he was able, by doing this, to enslave man and to cause man to rebel against God so that mankind enslaved to a sinful nature would continue to obey him rather than God. In essence Satan did become man’s new god.

    Disobeying God mankind essentially abdicated the dominion that God had given them and passed the dominion to another, Satan.

    Mankind thinks it’s in charge in this world but it’s not.

    The whole world system is rigged by Satan to make man think he’s in charge but in reality Satan’s in charge and mankind is instead his slave and his desires and his will mankind does.

    This is why friendship with the world is being enemies of God;

    James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

    As we have seen previously, living, working, respecting the environment and not abusing God’s creation is not in essence being friends of the world. In fact these are great responsibilities God has given not only mankind but also the church. Loving the world in a respectful and responsible way is not what is means to be friends of the world. We have to know that everything that does not cause us to reject God’s truth and does not cause us to sin and does not control us is not being friends with the world.

    As we have seen, friendship with the world means to belong to Satan and living in a way that is contrary to God’s way and His will.

    So let’s just take an example. One which has become accepted and not only accepted but considered as good moral behavior and in fact now even considered in line with God’s will in many churches.

    Homosexuality.

    God’s word calls it sin and an abomination and it is also against the natural creative order. God’s word prohibits this behavior and is included in the New Testament lists of the ways of this world.

    Before sin cursed man’s nature God created mankind in a specific way.

    Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    Right here we see that in the creative order, in the natural order mankind’s true and real sexual orientation is male and female, not male and male nor female and female.

    In fact Paul in Romans 1 reiterates this concept when he says: Romans 1:21-28 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    As we see in verses 26 and 27 Paul speaks exactly about homosexuality when he states that women changed the natural use into that which is against nature, likewise the men did the same thing, men with men. The point is that Paul states that this is against nature and Genesis confirms this as the natural use is male with female as God created them to be. This is why marriage can be only between a man and a woman, sexual relations are to be between a husband and a wife only.

    Other Scriptures that confirm this behavior as sinful and unacceptable to God can be found in:

    Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

    1 Kings 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

    In this last Scripture God tells us that practicing homosexuality was an abomination practiced by the nations, in other words the world system.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    In this passage in the KJV language the abusers of themselves with mankind means the same thing as it meant in Leviticus 18:22 lying with mankind as with womankind. This is KJV language that means homosexuality.

    The same goes for 1 Timothy 1:9-10 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whore mongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

    Today as we know this sexual sin is considered a good thing, an acceptable thing, in fact a thing that all of society and even the church is in many ways forced to accept as normal behavior.

    This is a perfect example of the ways of the world, this is a perfect example of a behavior and an ideology that has become acceptable and normal by the world and by psychology and psychiatry.

    So here is the clincher, psychology and psychiatry do not see this behavior as God sees it. God says it’s unnatural and it’s sin and it has very serious consequences for those who practice such. Psychology and psychiatry says that who behaves in such a manner is normal and it’s perfectly acceptable behavior,it’s natural and it’s good.

    So when a person goes to seek for help from these sciences we see that they are seeking counsel of the ungodly and the wicked. These sciences are therefore ungodly and they only incite and encourage people to remain friends of the world not to change nor to become godly. They are the ways of the world.
    Now, let’s remember Satan’s ideological deceptions, he casts doubt on what God’s word says about homosexuality, then he denies negative consequences to the practice of that behavior, then he actually accuses God of not wanting people to be happy by prohibiting this behavior and then he promises benefits beyond what a person would have in obeying God instead.

    It’s the same exact strategy used in the garden of Eden with Eve. Tempt people to do what God prohibits and doing it in the same way. The strategy is the same all the time.

    Now that we see how this works it is notable to talk about other ways Satan moves forth his propaganda and his brain washing of humanity.

    Adolf Hitler once declared: ” What luck it is for those in command that men do not think .”

    Some of you may have seen the film The Matrix, this next quote comes from the movie and is the description of what the matrix is in the movie, but if you see right in here we see the description of the world system that Satan has created to deceive people:

    “You want to know what the Matrix is? The Matrix is everywhere. It’s all around us. Even now, it is in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on the television, you can hear it when you go to work and when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. Matrix is the world that was built before your eyes to blind you from the truth…what is the matrix? It’s control, it is a computer generated surreal world to keep you under control, a developed world to change the human being… ”

    Unbelievable! This is the world that Satan has created, he constructed a hidden world because people are blinded and can not know the truth. Thus a world is created to keep people under control and to change the human being from God’s image into the image of Satan.

    Yes my dear friends, the world is under the spell of the devil, completely seduced by him, blinded by him.

    2 Corinthians 4:3-4 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    This seduction is put into place in the world in which we live even by those who are his human ministers, all those he uses to advance his program. For this he places people in power in very strategic places. In government, in schools, in great corporate positions and yes even in churches and in religion.

    Scripture warns us:

    2 Corinthians 11:14-15 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also are transformed as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works .

    Lifestyle, comfort and prosperity are part of the matrix created by Satan and his ministers for us. Their propaganda and mind control through every type of institution in our society and culture are the things that finally have taken their relative place in everyone’s life.

    Most people do not think, just like Hitler said, they do not think because their minds are too busy.

    This is a very, very dangerous thing, especially for believers. If our mind is too busy with the frenetic pace life dictates we will have little if no time to spend in order to renew our mind.
    In order to do so we also need the time to do it, so the theft of time is a great key used by Satan in order to stop us from being able to allow God’s word to renew our mind. If we don’t have time to spend in God’s word our minds will remain unchanged and will continue to be conformed to the ways of th world.

    Man not being able to stop and think is pure gold for those who are in command and those implementing Satan’s plans.

    We are very busy indeed, busy running after the lifestyle that Satan’s ministers and workers are selling to us.

    Their economy and their system is designed to steal all of our attention, so we cannot even really think about what they are doing.

    People are most likely too busy in their life, which today requires us to live constantly in a very busy state in order to acquire and retain the lifestyle one wants, lifestyle that THEY are making to be increasingly difficult to obtain. How do THEY cause all this running after this life with all this frenzy?

    Satan does this by manipulating human desires, the greed and lust of human beings, in order to do what? To distract us, to make us run faster all the time without having the time to stop and think, really think about what is happening to us and finally also to make us fall into financial debt from which then one cannot ever recover and get out of. All this will give them great control over the lives of those who fall into this subtle trap.

    These strategies are adopted to enslave society and make it helpless and vulnerable to psychological manipulation.

    Feminism:

    For example, Satan has come up with this great strategy and ideology that has now lasted for years and has been accepted through compromises and deceptions, making it almost impossible for women, especially those who today, desire to be housewives and mothers, in other words be what God designed them to be, to be able to stay at home and bring up their children instead of having to go to work.

    Women unfortunately have been manipulated and persuaded by the satanic propaganda, which made them believe that they had to give up family or at least sacrifice having a family, in order to pursue careers, work, things that today for the most part, for the woman, have become real slavery and forced labor, rather than enhancing them and emancipate them, why?

    Because, the temptation and strategy is the same as in the garden Satan says that: “All this is to have a BETTER life than the one God designed”, and above all, that only like this women can truly find their value as women, in other words by throwing off the yoke of male oppression.

    Today, however, most women are actually forced by the system to go to work. Many do not go to work in reality because they really want to or freely choose to go,even if they believe it to be so, but they work because they have been forced to need to work. Today women have to work in order to afford THE lifestyle, of which they have convinced by the world they must have in order to live better and be valued as women.

    In reality, however, all they do is live in a continual worse state and in many cases on the continuous brink of financial disaster, on the brink of poverty. People today are forced to live one step away, that is, only a few paychecks away from poverty.

    Today we live more and more in a state of constant stress, we live a life that is really in many ways unsatisfactory for most people. Not because we have comforts but because of the actual price one has to pay to obtain the comforts.

    Why do you think there are more and more illnesses caused by stress, physical illnesses and psychological illnesses? The answer is self evident!

    This life is lived by almost everyone, without ever being able to obtain the lifestyle propagated, sold and promised to us by Satan’s propaganda. Careers and employment opportunities for women and not only, have become forced labor. Ask those who have children if it is not forced labor, ask yourself why people do not want to start a family today as it once was customary.

    All people have become enslaved by Satan’s plans and his projects, the population has become a slave of the system. Life presented by the world is an illusion, it seemingly belongs to us but it really does not belong to us,it already belongs to the system, finally and worse it belongs to Satan in most cases. Many people, the majority, today have sold their soul to the devil for a brief and fleeting moment of apparent well-being.

    Meanwhile, all the things that are promoted with Satan’s agenda, make it increasingly difficult and almost impossible to choose family rather than work and career. This is because of the lifestyle that the people themselves choose to pursue and for this the institution of the family crumbles and has now come to destruction.

    The family is the basic foundation of a healthy society, if our society is sick today it’s is because the family is sick even worse destroyed.

    People use such things as abortion and contraceptives in order to have fewer children or in some cases not have them at all, why?

    Because people realize that children are a huge responsibility and a real sacrifice. The family is a great sacrifice that counteracts the attainment of the objective in charge, in other words well being and and prosperity. The family is a sacrifice that plays against the people’s ambitions and their choices of lifestyle, why? Because Satan has sold them empty promises.

    The family is a responsibility too great for many today and as a result all of this plays right into Satan’s agenda and of the NWO. This would namely be the reduction of the global population, the destruction of the family as God designed it and as a result the destruction of society and its moral and ethical values and principles commanded by God for the good and a satisfactory life of human beings.

    The family is destroyed because the difficulties of managing work take precedence over people and causes people to find the easiest way out, such as divorce and cohabitation rather than marriage, contraception and abortion rather than having children and having to care for and raise them.

    These are the factors that for the most part are manipulated through the selfish and sinful nature of people.

    Of course Satan and his followers in charge know exactly how to manipulate the sin and the sinful desires of the people to their own advantage.

    This world system has caused parents to choose, therefore, that they cannot live without certain comforts and lifestyle and chasing after the things of this world so that Satan may make them slaves along with their children and then turn them into good NWO citizens even without any of them noticing it for most part,why?

    Again, because men don’t think, can’t think, don’t have the time to think. As confirmed before by Hitler, who was a master of the psychological manipulation of the masses.

    The devil has used man’s desires which he knew he could better manipulate. Which you ask? In this case he again repeated the ploy used in Genesis 3 of which we talked about before.

    He was successful using the same principle! Satan tempted the woman with the same temptation of Genesis 3, as he adopted the same system. Back then it was Eve who then tempted Adam, Adam listened to Eve instead of God and they both disobeyed God.

    So even today, the devil has played the same card, using the innate desire of the sinful nature of women in this case. Which sinful desire in this case? The woman’s desire to be above man. Not only the desire to be equal to man in all respects but even of wanting to usurp the role that God has given to man and then wanting to strive to have the ultimate control.

    Ok, ladies please do not stone me! I’m not saying that for some issues, the position of women in society was not to be improved, but it should not have been done extremely as it is today, as this was the desire of Satan.

    Satan managed to convince a small group of women, who initially was really a minority, to believe that women were slaves, in other words being wives, mothers, homemakers, those who took care of home and family, was a slavery and a form of abuse from which slavery and abuse the woman had to be absolutely set free.

    The devil has done as he always does, he did it by lying and making false promises, promising results which then result to be only deceptions. Remember the devil never keeps the promises he makes. His promises are just traps, like bird nets.

    In fact, the results of his promises are always the opposite of what he promises, in fact, he promised freedom to women but he made them slaves of worse things of which they wanted to be freed. The same result of what he did in the original sin and seduction and the subsequent sin that his seduction caused. His empty promise caused the entire human race to fall into sinful rebellion against God.

    However, this small group of women, like Eve believed Satan’s lies, and in the meantime, with the preferred method of the devil, lies, compromise and continuous harassment, was able to convince other women then and continues to do so now, by finally convincing even much of the church, that women had to be freed from the bondage of the family and home while they had to be and had to do all that man is and does.
    Only in this way, Satan says, the life of the woman would be truly liberated, only this way women could have true and lasting satisfaction and empowerment.

    For a short time, man and the church were very weakly opposed to this new call and rebellion of a few women, but slowly,between one compromise and another, between a right and another, and let me say that some rights were right to be given by the way, the woman however and then consequentially the devil won, or rather the woman lost but the devil won.

    Yes, that’s Satan’s method. The devil always mixes a bit of truth and some right things, he adds a bit of truth to his lies and to his rebellion. This is his preferred system of operation. By doing this, the devil succeeds in making people compromise and in the end this brings to complete corruption, this is the result he wants to achieve. He knows that if he presented only unfair things and only obvious lies that people most likely would not accept them although many would just the same. However there are many people who are harder to deceive.

    But he is the master of the gradual compromise, which then leads to total corruption. He is patient and he knows that this method works.

    The devil then has won this battle, God has allowed him to win it. Satan was able to plant in some women’s ears the seed of rebellion, as he did with Eve, rebellion against the roles designed and assigned by God in the family, society and in the church. Satan was thus able to completely overturn the structure of society, the family and then also of the church.

    The woman then, seemingly freed from the yoke of the family, the home and man became a part of the work and the career world.

    No one wants to deny the skill, the intelligence and cleverness of women, that’s for sure, but the effect of this ” rebellion – liberation ” of women has been a devastating blow to the whole world.

    The system of gradual compromise and diabolical seduction worked to perfection. With the passing of time women have thrown themselves more and more into the field of work and career, and less and less into the family, so thus began the destruction of the family and as a result of society.

    Among other reasons but also for this same reason, the economy of most western countries is in chaos and turmoil.

    There is much unemployment today. Of course there is, if before all the work was predominantly except some, done by and enough for men, how many more jobs must then be created today to put to work all the women who are continually entering the field of work and career?

    There are therefore many more people looking for work and the work is never enough. We know that women are in number about seven times more numerous than men.

    So if only the majority of the men worked and the women did what God created them to do, that is, be mothers and housewives, how many more jobs would there be? Would they be sufficient? If women were mothers and wives and housewives or even if they did some other type of work at home, do you think the families would be so weak and destroyed as they are today? I firmly believe not! Families today would be more intact and stronger and so would society be. Children would have parents in the roles that God has designed and as a result they would not be raised up by day care, kindergartens and schools, in other words by strangers, but by their own mothers and fathers in the way that God has designed .

    So even the elderly in the family would have the care of the family at home and would be treated with love and dignity with which they were treated in the past, instead of being first exploited and then often left and forgotten in nursing homes or maybe left to fend for themselves and live alone in their own homes because their children are too busy they can’t take care of them.

    I guarantee you that divorce would not be at all prevalent as it is today, marriage would be respected and observed, abortion would be almost non-existent and yes homosexuality would still be unacceptable and it would not be accepted and prevalent as it is today.

    When the university, work, career become what a woman, and man, want more than anything else, everything else obviously becomes less and less important and is eventually forgotten.

    When college, work, career become what a woman, and also a man, want more than anything else, everything else obviously becomes less and less important and is eventually forgotten and neglected.

    At this point we can, indeed we must sacrifice everything to achieve the goal of well-being. The importance and the integrity of the family does not count any longer and then it decays and finally destroyed.

    It is for this reason for the last 43 years abortion has become not only the human sacrifice that mirrors the one practiced in the days of the Old Testament which was and still is an abomination to God, but today it is used because the woman and the man have other wants and desires in their life rather than the one to have a family and raise a godly offspring.

    What desires do they have instead? Personal well-being, quality of life, prosperity, careers, in short, pure selfishness, pure hedonism.

    Hedonism is another ideology and philosophy of the world.

    Definition of Hedonism is as follows: Relentless pursuit of pleasure, it’s an ethical theory that suggests that pursuit of pleasure should be the ultimate goal, constant quest for pleasure and satisfaction is the goal of life.

    People then say : “We cannot, we do not want, to have a family, it costs us too much financially and it is too great a sacrifice, we want to live the good life instead, then when we’re all set and ready perhaps then we’ll think of having a family.”

    They will never be all set and ready! Unless one is born into money nobody is ever all set and in most cases will not ever be.

    Sure! First one believes the devil’s lie that promised freedom and well-being, but now that all this personal well-being is made increasingly difficult to obtain one thing is certain, people have to sacrifice family and children to obtain these things and children become the human sacrifices made to the false god of prosperity and well-being.

    The want for more drives people to never have enough and to work more and more to have less and less!

    When people want sexual freedom, career, personal prosperity then human sacrifice has to be made somehow. When one does things the way God has designed them, everything works well, when one does what the devil wants everything that is good is destroyed. What God has created and designed the devil wants to destroy.

    So if God has created specific roles, if God created and designed the family in a certain way it is obvious that the devil wants to overturn and destroy them in every possible way.

    It should be understood that the prevalence and the increase in violence done to children, abuse and violence perpetrated on women, divorce, homosexuality, abortion along with all its consequences are the result of what we have talked about so far and they are being played out in our society today.

    So when we ask ourselves why there is so much evil doing in the world we can hopefully understand that these things are a great part of what causes evil and the decay of our society. In a sense though w cannot blame Satan alone, nor can we blame those in high places that implement his ideologies and philosophies, we must blame ourselves for having selfishly given in to our sinful desires which made Satan’s plans a reality. In reality mankind has turned against God and His ways,that’s the result of sinful and totally depraved human beings that want to discern on their own what is good and what is evil and that do not want to discern good and evil the way God does.

    There are alarming statistics on the abuse and the violence perpetrated against women in today society and these are both in the family and outside the family as well.

    Hence a woman meant to liberate herself from the yoke of the man, the family and the home and used for an excuse that the reason for the abuse and violence that she had to suffer was at the hands of the men in the family. Now we know this was going on, it is going on and this is a thing that God never condones nor justifies. However today instead this abuse and violence from which they believed to have been freed in fact has increased five fold and is done more and more frequently outside of the family and in the work place.

    But did not women think that this would be and improvement with the liberation and the emancipation of women? Instead everything today is worse then it was then, why? Because Satan is a liar and he never keeps his empty promises.

    However, as it would the rise of homosexuality in today’s society is largely due to the destruction of the family.

    You may wonder now : “Divorce I would understand even abortion but homosexuality, how? ”

    Of course, homosexuality, because when the roles that God has given to man and woman are reversed, there is gradually a crisis of sexual identity in society. Women who want to be men who act like men, lose their femininity and men also, in the end lose their masculinity and become more passive and abdicate their responsibilities and roles designated to them by God, because of this becoming more and more effeminate in their ways.

    Society itself and therefore the relationship with missing parents during childhood and adolescence causes also a sexual identity crisis. The rampant rise of homosexuality in today’s society is mainly due to families being destroyed by the plague of divorce and the lack of presence of parents from their Nichiren’s lives, even parents who are not divorced.

    In this last case, the lack is due to the fact that both working parents cannot be those who give the right emotional stability and the right direction to their children. This causes the children to look for what is missing in a parent-child relationship, with others, which becomes a homosexual relationship of either sexes.

    These children seek to find what is missing in the relationship with their parents with any other person who can give it to them in some way. Often a homosexual relationship occurs because the figure of the father or the mother, for various reasons is viewed negatively by the sons and daughters and sub-consciously it turns into a rebellion that is manifested by homosexual conduct.

    We described this the destiny and the consequence of a society that rejects God and His ways, this is exactly the same as described in Scripture, from the pen of the Apostle Paul in Romans 1.

    After all, this is the basic reason why all this happens, people abandon and reject God and His ways and He lets them go their way or better Satan’s way.

    Here’s what the devil has succeeded in creating, a society opposed to how God has designed it and for some time already, is attempting to do this even in the church and with some success I would say.

    Abortion along with many other mentioned sins, have sadly become accepted practices and even practiced by believers, if so we want to call them, however, accepted practices by many so called Evangelical churches today.

    Let’s look at another one of Satan’s propaganda machine, with which he conditions and brainwashes people, this one is painful for most people but it needs to be addressed because it affects people from the time they are children.

    The Public School System:

    The public school system is also known as state sponsored educational system.
    Once the public school system held to the Judaeo-Christian standard of education. If you think that in the beginning of the history of our nation and for a long time after the Bible was a school text book, in fact children learned how to read using the Bible.

    Today though the public school system is of the property of a godless state and it has our children for most of the day, starting when they are 2-3 years old, (this also because both parents work and they need to place their children in a school system earlier in life) and the children are in the system until they graduate from college so who becomes in reality their parents?

    Certainly not the biological parents! Twenty years of indoctrination and brainwashing are enough to turn them into the thinkers of the world system, they become the subjects that those who control the system desire that our children become.

    Do you think I’m exaggerating? Hear this!

    Way back in 1946 – The former editor of the Journal of the NEA (National Education Association), Elmer Morgan stated the following:

    ” In the struggle to establish a world government, the teacher can do much to prepare the hearts and minds of children for global understanding and cooperation. At the heart of all the agencies which will assure the coming of global governance the school, the professional and organized teacher must rise above all ”

    “The schools can not allow parents to influence the values of the education that their children receive in school, this is what is wrong with those who say that there is a system of universal values. Our humanistic goals are incompatible with theirs. We need to change their values. ”

    Decalared Paul Haubner, N.E.A. Specialist.

    Do you hear loud and clear the agenda of the public school system? The school system does not want us parents to instill and teach our children the very things that are incompatible with what they promote and teach. What do you think that might be? It’s the system of universal values, which is their way to say God and His values. The school’s goal therefore is to change these values and as we said to interfere forcibly in the minds of our children to teach them things contrary to what we teach them.

    Paul Blanchard; a humanist made this statement in 1976:

    “I think the most important factor that is making us move toward a secular and humanistic society is the educational factor. Our schools may not teach Johnny to read properly, but the fact that Johnny is in school until the age of 16 must lead toward the elimination of all religious superstition. The child at school must receive training that militates against Adam and Eve and all other myths of alleged history. When I was an editor in the 20s , I wrote an editorial explaining that golf and knowledge were the two main reasons why men do not go to church. Today I would say it is the education of our school system. ”

    Do we really understand thoroughly what is being said here? They don’t care whether or not our children learn basic skills like writing and reading they only care about actually leaving in ignorance about many things and making sure they are brainwashed to stop believing in biblical principles and facts. This is a far cry from what our schools were many, many years ago.

    We have seen that already post World War II in 1946 already the school system was working toward this goal, in fact as we see in Paul Blanchard’s declaration this was at work since the 1920s, the goal is to make people deny God and His truth and become humanistic and secular.

    These statements are confirmations that the school system and its humanistic values and all who are employed by the system wants at all costs to dismantle the values given to our children from their families and the church.
    There are many good teachers and professors that are outstanding and proficient in their work and who have many good intentions. Unfortunately those who work in this system are obligated to obey the system’s directives and not to deviate from them in any way if they do not want to incur in disciplinary action.

    We therefore see with certainty that the agenda of public education is the indoctrination of our children through a system of well-defined propaganda that fully supports Satan’s agenda.

    The world’s education system inculcates their secular, naturalist and humanistic propaganda, that is, the constant indoctrination of these ideologies to make our children abandon entirely the principles of Judaeo-Christian values or what they call universal values, given to the children by their parents, by the word of God and the church.

    Parents, unfortunately become often absent from the lives of their children as we have already explained before because the philosophy of the forced labor for everyone, for both males and females and in the running after the lifestyle required by the same world system so that through years of cultural manipulation of society, has created the perfect conditions to destroy the family and faith as the foundation of family and society. Satan’s minsters have become the absolute puppet-masters of each new generation, a small piece at a time, year after year.

    From the education of the public school and its public propaganda I’d like to switch to another vehicle of indoctrination and propaganda Satan uses perhaps even more insidious because not easily detected, however, its task is facilitated indeed again, by the absence of the parents from the lives of their children.

    The propaganda and indoctrination of:

    The Media, Television, Movies, Video games and Music.

    These vehicles have in many ways become the new educators and indoctrinates of society as well as our children’s new parents, baby-sitters and friends.

    The media are particularly controlled by Satan’s ministers with which they seduce all people’s senses not only those of our children. All this is done using psychological tactics to make us believe what they want us to believe and not the truth.

    This is called mind control, and it can actually have an hypnotic effect through TV.

    What I’m saying is absolutely true, there are many facts that confirm this.

    The media is Satan’s biggest propaganda machine, it is used to suppress the truth and distribute lies and for us to hear and see only the things that they want us to know and see. Their version of the events.

    Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph P Goebbels in 1943 declared this:

    ” Not every article of news should be published, rather, those that control the politics of the news are to make sure that each and every news item is intended for a specific purpose. ”

    Richard Haas, President of the Council for Foreign Affairs (CFR) in reference to the war in Iraq declared:

    ” Television has been the main tool in selling our policy.”

    In an article wrote by Alex Ansari regarding the subject of media’s brainwashing we find many excerpts that help us understand very well what they are doing.

    “A major component to a full understanding of why there is this kind of governmental and corporate corruption is to discover the modern science of mind control and social engineering . We have only to glance over the many documents that exist to realize that the government is not our friend and it is not built for the good of humanity.”

    The drive for the propagation of the blindness in the population of the planet is classic art that existed even before the United States even existed, this is a diabolical art.

    To defeat our enemies (ie dictators, Satan’s ministers ), it is imperative that we understand how they think and what they believe.

    Experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman reveal that , for example, when a person watches television, brain activities go from the left hemisphere to the right hemisphere of the brain .

    The left hemisphere is the seat of logical thought. Here, the information is divided into its component parts and critically analyzed. The right side of the brain, however, treats the received data not in a critical and logical processing but conducting an emotional interpretation of the information rather than a logical one. The activity of the brain in moving from left to right also causes the release of endorphins, the body possesses these as natural opiates, through which it is possible to become physically dependent on television.

    This is a hypothesis confirmed by several studies that have shown that few people can abandon the “habit of television.”

    It is no longer an exaggeration that youth today are raised up and indoctrinated through television and that they become intellectually dead within the first years of adolescence. The brainwashing of humanity is also achieved by another shift which occurs in the brain when we watch television .

    The activity in the higher regions of the brain (neo- cortex) decrease, while activity in the lower regions of the brain ( limbic system) increases …What does this mean? It means that this is where the manipulators use our own emotions as strings to manipulate us.

    The distortions of the senses that we are experiencing are happening at the subconscious level and often unnoticed …

    The techniques are increasing with the passing of time and the mind scientists that serve the empire continue to discover scientific breakthroughs as to how the human brain works, learns and retains information as it receives it.

    The techniques for the most effective brainwashing propaganda that the networks are using are most important … We live in a tragic time when the state can monopolize by psychological imprisonment and psychologically enslave an entire population.

    Eventually, however, our minds are already predisposed to accept life in an economy and a society of martial law and control of the government, this is because we read it in the newspaper and see it praised in the news and we accepted it in the movies.

    Children today are for example very well indoctrinated by their games and their favorite programs.
    The program blocks that are all universally accepted, parallel the shift to put our lives in a state of illusion. This is the creation of the “ beehive mind.”

    What is the ” beehive mind ?”

    The beehive mind is what the result of the public brainwashing is called.

    Everything starts with the same thoughts, the same goals, the same knowledge and the same understanding, all dictated by them.

    A society with the beehive mind finally engages in conformity and ignores diversity, this is how tolerance is generated (eg, take a society into the beehive mind is indeed to generate socialism) while it hides the fact that it is bringing down a road that eventually leads to a false utopia that is broadcast on television.

    It produces a society that functions like worker bees that serve only one purpose, namely to serve the queen bee and that they would also give their very lives for the sake of the queen bee (in this case the godless governing agents and in the end Satan.)

    This by the way is the preferred method of the liberal progressive agenda and they are definitely working to produce this type of society, the unity they speak about is a godless, humanistic, secular and socially engineered society that will give up all diversity to form tolerance and conformity and serving those who desire this society because they will be given all the power and authority by the people who will sacrifice all their God given liberties in order to obtain a false sense of utopia.

    This is socialism in the making by the way, socialism at global level is globalism and world government where every one is conformed to the image promoted by it.

    Networks love the fact that television regulates the standards of today’s society and therefore also affects political opinion. This is why the mainstream media today is practically all leftist, progressive and liberal, the hijacking of America has been going on for a long time now.

    In the end this is not a political only issue as we have seen it’s a spiritual issue, it’s the state that works overtime to eliminate God and to become the people’s god and the instrument that will usher in the acceptance and worship of Antichrist.

    The media has created for us the perfect society and the image that could only exist if we did things the way they want them done, (their interests). They tell us what happiness is and what it is not. The same goes for love, dislikes and anything else that can be implanted in our subconscious for example, that homosexuality is today a common good.

    We can become slaves of the system with their perfect indoctrination given to us by the TV networks. The messages that they are giving over time are increasingly racist, violent, dishonest and tolerant, especially of what is immoral and ungodly.

    From a passage of Democracy in America , Volume II:

    ” After taking every member of the community in their powerful grip and adapting it to their will , the supreme power extends its tentacles over the whole community. Covering the surface of society with a network of small, minute, uniform and complicated rules, in which even the most original minds and the most energetic characters can not penetrate. The will of man is not shattered, but instead it is softened, bent and guided, men are not threatened with acts of violence, but instead are persuaded not to act at all. Such a power does not destroy immediately, but it prevents existence; ensues its strength not with physical violence, but instead compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and anesthetize people, until each nation is reduced to nothing, only a multitude of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. ”

    What a statement of factual truth this is!

    However, for us who believe in Jesus Christ, in God, the true God described in the Bible, the Government is not our shepherd, the Lord is our shepherd, or at least should be, making Him and His word only our guide in His truth.

    We need to filter EVERYTHING WE SEE AND HEAR through the WORD OF GOD.

    Jesus said that if we do this ” We will know the truth, and the truth will set us FREE”.

    They achieve mind control through the advertising campaigns created expressly for the formation of a way of life (the dream that everyone wants to achieve but which actually turns into a nightmare) and do all this through the manipulation of the mind and the manipulation of human nature and the sinful desires of the people, such as envy, greed, selfishness, pride and finally sex, flooding the market with things that THEY offer us, effectively convincing people that they can not live without them. They do this by selling things that are really not necessary, presenting the image, sex all these things turn into a constant drumbeat that is wrought in our minds through the portals of our senses, our eyes and our ears, by the media, radio and TV advertisements, billboards, newspapers and magazines.

    They are experts in manipulation and control, after all, their god is the father of lies, and he is the chief expert of how to manipulate and enslave the minds of the people, he is the supreme manipulator of sin, temptation and the human senses.

    His disciples have learned well how to do all this. After all is that not how the devil also tempted Eve to rebel against God? He tempted her senses and was able to convince her that she and Adam through the desires of a life governed by the senses and by their desires along with their own version of the knowledge of good and evil could be the same as God, that is in the end, to live in a status of independence from the one true God.

    Genesis 3:4-6 Then the serpent said to the woman , “You will not surely die 5 For God knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil .” 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food , that it was pleasant to the eyes and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he ate .

    However, just look around you and be honest. Do we realize it or not, that Satan’s promise did not bring the promised results he promised but created instead an entirely different human condition?

    There is a motto that we so often see in the form of a bumper sticker and it describes the exact result that Satan’s strategy wants to have on people; it reads:

    ” Who dies with the most toys wins”

    This is a great LIE that they want us to believe. They say that what matters most in life is to have more, achieve more prosperity and wealth!

    Which is just the opposite of what Jesus said :

    Matthew 16:26 ” what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? ”

    Sure, because what Satan and his followers say is always the opposite of what God says!

    The pursuit of success (wealth, position and power in society) in the administration of industry and competition for control involve efforts to produce and sell more and more.

    Some of these means are, the amplification and modernization of facilities and advertising urging and inciting to follow a certain fashion, fashions must change periodically, in order to replace the outdated ones and what has now become unsatisfactory. This for the most part forces more modern, more complex and more expensive things to be created and sold. That is, we need to change an object and transform it from and object of permanent use to that one instead made for temporary use.

    These actions are then accepted by the public and become a common behavior that will no longer change.

    Consumerism lives and grows like a cancer through Satan’s manipulation. We are being manipulated but we want to deny our manipulation, we are convinced that we are free to choose and that in the end we really need the goods and services they sell, that we try at all costs to achieve.

    Let’s look at another very powerful brainwashing tool used by Satan to condition our minds.

    Music

    What about the negative influence on the psyche of young people and not only young people through music?

    We have come to understand that music is a vehicle that has the power to affect and disrupt the emotions of a person in such a way as to produce effects in the behavior of the listener relative to the same emotions that it manages to create.

    If then we add images to music, this emotional upheaval is multiplied even more. Music and images together imprint in the mind images and memories that become unforgettable in time and as we said can and will affect the emotions of people. If such person is not under a strong and stable emotional control and or the control of the Holy Spirit, and word of God this method of brainwashing becomes devastating.

    Submitting our emotions to the control of the Holy Spirit cannot ever happen in the lives of people who are not believers, it does not even often happen in the lives of those who profess to be believers, let alone if it can happen in the lives of non-believers.

    Adding to this fact some lyrics and some images should not ever be heard or seen and should be avoided at all costs. However, if these emotions and these things are not placed under the control and the renewal of the mind by the word of God and the Spirit of God, the emotions that come from listening to certain kind of music and some of the images connected to it, with the passing of time program the mind of those who listen and those who see them, and without even realizing it, the subject develops a behavior dominated by everything that is heard and seen.

    For example, there have been definitive studies that have confirmed that there is a connection between a certain type of rock music and the use of hard drugs and suicide in a certain segment of the young teenage population who listen to this kind of music.

    The lyrics of these songs are words that too often encourage listeners to rebel against their parents and authorities, inviting the listener to take drugs, to be dissatisfied and unhappy with their lives and ultimately find no value and hope in this life to such an extent that eventually, always using the same lyrics, declare that even death and suicide for many would be the option most welcome.

    Many young people unfortunately controlled by these emotions, in this case the negative result from the submissiveness to the lyrics coupled with a certain type of music are encouraged to take drugs , and finally to self-destruct, and they do it.

    The same thing happens for example with hip -hop and rap music.

    These styles of music have a specific rhythm needed to make what is taught through the lyrics be better retained and more easily memorized by the mind, this is a method used to program the mind even more regarding the content of the words and what these encourage them to to be and to do.

    These styles of songs do nothing but incite violence, racism, rebellion against parents and authorities, encourage immoral sexual activity and use profanity and often even blasphemy against God.

    All this is a way of indoctrinating young people, not only, but especially young impressionable children and teens to live and think in the way that is most convenient to the devil.

    We see a correlation between these types of music and their lyrics with the increase of violence, drug use, anarchy and suicide especially in young people. This only prepares them to be Satan’s pawns when they are adults, if they make it to adulthood.

    We need to remember that Satan uses music as a method and vehicle of his indoctrination in such a way because he is an expert in the subject. Satan before his fall was in charge of the worship music in heaven.

    Ezekiel 28:13-18 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.

    As we see this passage is a description of Satan and his old job description was to be the most beautiful angel and the most high angel. He was the one who was in charge of the worship music in heaven.

    We understand clearly why he has corrupted music. The most sad part of this is not so much what he has done with it in the world, this was an obvious thing, it’s what he did with it in the church as well.

    He has corrupted the worship music in the church by making it irrelevant and worldly, often centered on man rather than God. Especially the lyrics have been the part that Satan has hijacked in the church. Once worship music expressed the divine person, God’s attributes, His works especially the work of redemption, the words exalted Christ and God.

    Often today it has become instead centered on man and his needs or his feelings. I retain that a lot of contemporary worship music does not at all worship God rather it worships man and his feelings. He also uses the worship music to incite emotional, even fanatical behavior as well as getting people in a ecstatic and frenetic state through which he can enter more easily into the mind of a person because the person’s mind remains in an unfruitful state. This is very dangerous territory to go into as even Scripture exhorts us to have a fruitful and engaged mind and not so much rely on our emotions.

    In other words it should be the logical reasoning of lyrics that exalt God and His attributes that engage our emotions and not a certain type of music that affects and incites our senses often placing people almost in a hypnotic ecstatic state.

    Look at what Paul tells the Pentecostals of his day:

    1 Corinthians 14:12-15 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

    Now you may object saying that this passage does not speak of music but of speaking in tongues and you are right. However, it’s not whether it’s tongues or not, the principle I am trying to draw out of this passage is a principle that we can apply to the lyrics and to the music that is being played in church. Although if we see the text properly it does speak of singing in the spirit and with the understanding in verse 15.

    The principle in either case is self control, which is also fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22, and having our minds engaged in such a way that our minds do not remain blank or unfruitful. Not to have control of our thoughts is never good, in fact God’s Spirit and His word and His person should have control and should occupy our minds. This is in fact what we will be studying next in our Romans 12:2 passage where we are told we must not be conformed to the ways of the world but be transformed by the renewal of our minds.

    In fact in verse one of Romans 12 Paul says that our worship service to God, all of it, must be done in a reasonable and logical way, this includes how we worship God in church, it includes the music that we use. Our minds must be fully engaged not to leave them as blank canvas upon which Satan and his demons may come in and wreak havoc. Most people don’t even realize what kind of music and lyrics are used in church and quite frankly since the church has become very, very worldly and has accepted all kind of things it is then very easy for Satan to influence people through music if it is not carefully vetted.

    Anyway, getting back now to the worldly music, Satan uses it to influence people, he uses it to program people’s minds and to eventually take a hold of those minds that in some way have been conditioned and programmed by the music and lyrics.

    I would like to mention one last but not least ideological system that Satan has created for our mind’s programming.

    Religion:

    Religion I have to say is the most insidious and dangerous deception used by Satan to program our minds to be his salves and to reject God.

    Religion is Satan’s masterpiece of deception and mind control.

    Let’s premise something very important at this point. Most people think, even Christians think that being a true born again believer in Jesus Christ is religion. Well it’s really not religion in the true sense of the way.

    Christian faith in reality is the only way to know God and to have access to God and it’s really all about one person Jesus Christ!

    So if we want to really use the term religion when we speak of Christianity we need to specify then that it’s the only true religion with which we get to know God, the true living God. However, as believers we become children of God so in essence we have a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

    We cannot therefore compare a living relationship with a religion. In religion there is not a true and real relationship between God and the people who indulge in the religion.

    A religion in its terminology is a set of beliefs, rituals and rules observed by people. This could include many different types even superstitions.

    Religions however do not lead to the knowledge of God, in fact, religions lead people away from God and His truth. Religions are a pathway to idolatry not to knowing God and worshiping Him as the one and only living God.

    You see religions claim that it does not matter what you believe or who you believe in, all religions in the end are just different ways to get to the same God.

    Really? This could not be further from the truth! All religions are actually designed to lead to the worship of one being but that being is not God it’s Satan.

    The plurality of religions are nothing but idolatry and the worship of false ideologies and false gods.

    The very first attempt to bring mankind to worship Satan other than God was established back in

    Genesis 11:1-9 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

    This is a very important passage as it is the very first attempt of Satan to form a world order of which he would be the supreme deity and attempting to get the world to unite against God and choose to worship him instead.

    That was the very reason why God confounded their language and dispersed them scattering them all over the earth. This one religion is known as the mystery religion of Babylon. It is actually from this religion that all other versions of religion came from and were then spread all over the earth.

    The worship of created elements such as sun, moon and stars or even animals and men, came from here, all other mystical religions came from this one. In essence many other variants of this religion were created and spread around the world. If we examine closely all religions have similar concepts and beliefs or rituals because they are basically rooted in this mystery religion of Babylon.

    Even after the birth of the church many variations and corrupted versions of Christianity were created by Satan. These by the way are the best counterfeit religions he created as they so closely resemble the Gospel and real Christianity that they are accepted by many as such. These are the most subtle and deceiving ones. This is the reason why for God and even to the Apostles false doctrine has to be detected and eradicated, because it leads to the acceptance of false forms of the Gospel and false forms of Jesus and God.

    In the Old Testament and even in the New false religions, in other words idolatry are definitely linked to the worship of demons and ultimately of Satan.

    1 Corinthians 10:14-22 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the alter? 19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

    Paul had already told us in Romans 1 that idolatry is mankind’s religion with which the truth of God is also suppressed.

    Romans 1:21-25 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    Satan corrupted mankind so badly that it became easy for him to deceive people especially with false religions or better yet idolatry.

    Religion as Paul says in verse 21 are imaginations, fantasies and those who practice them have foolish darkened hearts.

    The use of the word imaginations is very appropriate in this case because we actually find the same word in a very interesting context that also does confirm the illegitimacy of religion and describes imaginations as high things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    We will study this passage more in detail when we will study the next verse in the context of renewing one’s mind.

    What I want to focus on here is the word used here in verse 5, it says that with God’s truth we are to cast down imaginations. Imaginations is the word used also in Romans 1:21 in reference to idolatry as a religion.

    So, religions or idolatry is an imagination created in mankind’s mind by Satan’s deceptions.

    The word imaginations actually denotes something that is not real but imagined, therefore we can safely conclude that religion is something false, not real, it’s something imagined by someone’s deceived, corrupted and controlled mind.

    Religion is a false belief system, in fact Jesus Himself said:

    John 4:19-24 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    What Jesus was saying here is this: The woman was focusing on religious status, ritual and place where worship to God was to be accepted, this by the way was the worship of the true living God. Jesus instead teaches her and us that there would come a time, and in fact the time had already come, where in order to worship God, in order to serve God and to have a relationship with God a person would not rely on a method or a place nor a religious status rather they would have to have a relationship with God and serve and worship God first in spirit and then in conformity with the truth.

    This statement brings us to two particular passages that explain to us what Jesus really means when He says we must worship God in spirit and in truth.

    The first mention is worshiping God in spirit, this brings us to the previous chapter where Jesus said these things to Nicodemus:

    John 3:1-8 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

    Jesus also said this:

    John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    Basically Jesus is telling the Samaritan woman what He told Nicodemus and what He said in John 6:63.

    The second issue Jesus brings forth besides having to be born of the Spirit and become spiritually alive to know God and to see and enter into the Kingdom of God is truth.
    We can only get to know God through the truth.

    What is truth? Even Pilate in John 18 asked Jesus what is truth? Jesus though taught us what rather more importantly who truth is.

    Jesus is the truth:

    John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    In this statement Jesus clearly delineates for us the fact that it’s not religion that makes people right with God nor is it religion that allows us to know God. With this statement Jesus literally and clearly voids the validity of any and all religions.

    Jesus is not a religion Jesus is a person and He is God. To know God we must know Jesus, there is no other way.

    Jesus again in John 17 clarifies for us how we get to know God:

    John 17:1-3 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

    The only conclusion we can and must arrive to is Jesus is the truth, through Him only we can get to know God, through Jesus only we can receive eternal life and eternal life is the only way we can get to know God.

    These conclusions are astonishing and devastating for those who claim that every religion has validity and that through any religion a person can get to know God or that any religion leads to God. They do not!!

    Only a person can and will bring us to God and allow us to know Him, Jesus Christ the truth and eternal life John 11:25-26.

    He is the way, to God, the only way to God, He is the truth of God and God’s word John 1:1-14 which is also the truth John 17:17

    He is the life, He is eternal life and only through Him people can get to know God as He said previously in John 17.

    Jesus is the only way to God, Jesus is the only truth of God and Jesus is the only One who has the power and authority to give eternal life to those whom God has given to Him to do so, in addition eternal life is salvation and it’s the only way to get to know God.

    So as we see, without even examining every single other religion, we safely and clearly conclude that no religion can or will lead to know God, no religion can or will save anyone from their sinfulness, no religion can or will make a person right in God’s eyes.

    Religion all is clearly idolatry because it does not glorify God at all, religion raises man or created beings or created elements at the level of God.

    Religion is a very powerful tool with which Satan deceives, oppresses and enslaves mankind, he uses this deceptive system of religion and idolatry to build great fortresses of lies and deceptions in people’s minds, in such a way that people truly believe that their religion as well as other religions are just different ways to get to know God and to earn salvation by observing rituals, performing works and living some type of ascetic life.

    Satan’s greatest tools for the acceptance of all religions as being valid and true are two main ones that actually intersect and intertwine with each other, tolerance and ecumenism.

    His mantra is let’s just all live in peace with each other, tolerance is the key, let’s just accept each others’ religion as valid and important and let’s work together to make this a better world.

    These are nothing but utopic lies, only when Jesus returns and establishes true justice and peace will there be true peace and only then.

    Man made false hypocritical peace and tolerance and religion is nothing but Satan’s smoke screen so that the world will worship him and so that he can actually point out to the real and true Christians and accuse them as being bigoted and intolerant and the ones who actually are the haters because they are not willing to tolerate and live in the false man made and Satan created peace and unified religion. In addition his lying false religious ideology allows people to tolerate each other without trying to
    convert each other to the others religion. True Christians that try to evangelize are the dangerous troublemakers an those who cannot tolerate and co exist with others in peace and harmony.

    You see Satan’s true goal is not really to eliminate the differences between all religions but to unite them in one and only tolerant ideology.

    He does not care if all other religions remain individually different as long as they co exist in mutual acceptance and tolerance and believe that they all lead to the one and same God.

    As I said before they do lead to a one and only god, him, Satan and not the true living God.

    This conglomeration of religious ideas all accepted and tolerated actually becomes one unique religion.

    This religious ideological system is called Pluralism and it’s not really a new concept at all.
    There is another religious ideological system which we can consider the same as pluralism and it’s
    syncretism.

    Syncretism is actually defined like this: It is the combining of different beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths.

    These ideologies, pluralism and sycncretism both united with ecumenism are the accepted religion of Satan and the Antichrist.

    So we understand then that true Christianity is a proponent of exclusivism because it asserts that Jesus is the only and true way to know God and to be saved. Because of this it will be easy for Satan to convince a deceived world that we, the true born again believers and the believers of the One and only true and living God are the troublemakers and the bigots and the haters because we do not want to become a part of this unified religious all inclusive system.

    This is obviously because true Christianity is incompatible with all other idolatrous religions as we said because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father if not by Him.

    This makes the true Gospel very unpopular with the devil’s false unified religious world system.

    However, the point is that through religion the minds of the multitudes are manipulated into doing and spreading the devil’s agenda and his ideologies.

    These false religions’ system of thought and oppression cause true entrenchments of false ideologies in people’s minds that these become often very difficult to override even after a person has become born again. Hence the reason why Paul says that we must become transformed from the ways of the world by the renewing of our minds. It’s not that a born again Christian once saved and born again does not need to renew his or her mind, we really have to do so or we will remain in a state of deception and confusion. This is why the teaching of true and sound orthodox doctrine is not only important it’s essential.

    So in conclusion of this subject let’s once again make a list of what the ways of this world are.

    These are:

    Sinful and wicked behavior, the works of the flesh are the ways of the world:

    Romans 1:29-31 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    Galatians 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Ephesians 4:17-19 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
    19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

    We also have seen that besides these sinful behaviors being the ways of the world there are many other things that have been looking at:

    Ideologies and Philosophies:

    Such are Secular Humanism, Hedonism, Pragmatism, Eugenics which spawned from the Theory of Evolution which is part of the corrupted science in which we also find psychology and psychiatry.

    We then saw that worldly institutions are also corrupted by Satan:

    Governments which then have corrupted School Systems and we have seen other ideologies that have been adopted through the demonic corrupted institutions and ideologies such as the Medias, Television and Music, which push and promote Satan’s agendas into the minds of people programming them to cause there to be more and more evil in the world, more and more ungodliness and rejection of God’s truth.

    Then last but certainly not least: Religion

    All this makes up the world system, the ways of the world, we must not be conformed to all this but we must fight and oppose all these sinful behaviors, these ideologies, these institutions and vehicles that spread around Satan’s lies and wickedness.

    This is the real spiritual warfare the church must be engaged in.

    Our minds have all been programmed negatively by the ways of the world. No one is exempt. Our sinful nature once plunged us headlong into these false and deceptive ideologies and institutions.

    We were not only victims and slaves to these ideologies and institutions and religions and willingly and happily we took part in all these things.

    So again these are the ways of the world and the world of God commands us not to be conformed to them but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

    Many people in the church have very strange and faulty way of thinking as to how we must become transformed.

    They think that God in some kind of magical, supernatural way transforms us when we place ourselves into the right spiritual condition or somehow a Christian becomes transformed by osmosis by spending hours on end on their knees begging God to change them.

    These thoughts are erroneous and they do not at all reflect how God desires to work in our lives to transform us.

    Here in Romans 12:2 we see that Paul tells us how to be transformed, it’s by the renewing of our minds.

    We have seen that God does not want us to be conformed to the ways of the world and we have seen extensively what these ways are. We also have seen that these are all the things that condition our minds in a negative way.

    We also see that the mind is the very part of us God gave us that actually makes us behave in a certain way.

    In order to behave in a godly way, in order to think like God thinks, in order to be set free from wrong and worldly and Satanic ways of thinking, there is only one way this can be done, by the renewing of our minds.

    However, what do we need to be transformed into? We need to be transformed into the image of Christ.

    Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestine to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    Let me just say that this passage speaks of being predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son in the eternal and glorified image of Christ, which is the final glorification of the saints.

    John said it like this:

    1 John 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

    John says it does not appear, verse2, what we shall be but we know that when He comes we will be like Him. This is what God does when He glorifies and re-creates us completely into His image; but then John also says that God wants us to be like Him even now by purifying oneself.

    In fact John in the previous chapter said this:

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

    So we are to be like Him and walk like Him. How can we be like Him and walk like He did if we cannot think like Him?

    Remember our mind is that part of us which will determine our behavior.

    Our conformity to Christ during our lifetime on earth is a very complex idea. Paul already taught us in Romans 7 that we still sin even as born again believers. In chapter 8 though he claimed that there is therefore no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    So what are we to make of this? There are some sects of Christianity especially within the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement who claim that a real believer can attain perfect sinlessness in this life.

    This is actually wishful thinking and it leads to being riddled with spiritual pride. The Scripture actually teaches us that unfortunately even as Christians we continue to sin.
    We should and may sin less than when we were unconverted, nevertheless we do sin. There has to be a change that occurs in a person when we become born again. There has to be evidence of pursuing holiness and righteousness. If and when these desires are not present and when there is no willingness to attempt to live in conformity with God’s word and obey His commandments God’s grace is not present. There are several Scriptures that confirm all this. We can find many of them in 1 John.

    When John mentions this, this is the key to understanding this concept.

    1 John 1:6-10 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    1 John 2:1-6 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

    John does not at all dismiss the fact that we should not sin as we read in verse 1 of chapter 2, but he knows we will, when we do we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is righteous not us, it’s His righteousness that is imputed to us through faith in Jesus Christ. This is God’s grace which actually does not consider our sin as the damning thing in our life any longer. As we said before there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ, that’s a fact, we have passed form death to life, we have passed from judgment to justification, we are saved from the wrath to come and have peace with God.

    Now, God’s grace produces in us though something particular that was not there before we were saved, the desire and ability to obey God and do His will.

    Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    As we see it is God who works in us to will, to desire, to want to do His will and obey Him and it is also God who gives us the strength and ability to obey Him. This is how we work outwardly our inward salvation, we work out visibly what God has done in us. We cannot just keep it inside, it must be visible.

    God’s grace also works in us also something else, in other words it teaches us and works in us the desire and willingness and gives us the power to renounce sin and the world’s ways.

    Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

    It is evident in Scripture and by all Christian’s lives that we still sin, can sin and will sin.

    God’s grace is there for His children to take care of this problem for us, this does not mean we can or should abuse this privilege. We see that those who think they walk in the light but are licentious in their lifestyle these are not born again, these do not belong to Christ. This is actually the context of 1 John.

    John in his epistle is making a contrast between the behavior, howbeit not perfect of the believers, and he is contrasting it with the behavior of those who claim to know the truth but live outright as sinners in whom there is no change of behavior at all. Also it is important to understand that behavior which desires righteousness and holiness and which pursues these traits is from God but people are not saved by trying to obtain this behavior.

    This is a grave error which the Pentecostal/charismatic movement and the Roman religion make, these believe that God converts us by grace alone but then they teach and believe that we have to maintain ourselves saved with our efforts and the practice of righteous works and if we fall short then we cannot be guaranteed salvation.

    This is not what Scripture teaches us, it teaches us that we desire to live in a righteous and holy way and obey God not to earn or maintain our salvation but because God has changes our desires and works in us in spite if us. All this as I said is in spite of the sin that still works in our bodies, for this sin God’s grace is sufficient.

    The most important issue we need to understand is this, that God wants us to conform our behavior to Jesus’ and be transformed more and more like Him by the renewing of our mind.

    God first of all wants us to achieve His mind, He wants us to change our human way of thinking and acquire His ways of thinking. If we don’t renew our mind we cannot be transformed because I repeat it, it is our mind which will ultimately dictate the way in which we will live. It all starts in there, in our minds.

    As we have seen though in order to not be conformed to the ways of the world we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

    Our transformation is not only the ceasing of sinful behavior in itself but it’s getting to understand all things by acquiring God’s mind, His thoughts, begin to think, to see all things the way He sees them.

    Let’s start this concept with an example. Let’s take for example human sexuality, this is a big cause of all kinds of sinfulness in humans.

    Let’s begin with fornication. Fornication is definitely a sin. Fornication is being sexually involved outside of the boundaries of marriage. Sex with multiple partners or even one but not being married to them.

    Now, even though the word of God says it is sin yet many Christians may think it’s acceptable behavior.

    I will give you a real life example of this.

    We knew a couple in a church who came to church and no doubt still goes, they were not married and also already had a child together. They came to church and worshiped God with lifted hands, they always had some kind of testimony of God’s salvation, they heard the word of God every Sunday, the man’s mother was an elderly woman well known as a strong believer in the church.

    The fact is that they were not married and lived together and also had a child out of wedlock and freely were allowed to continue to live in that way by the leadership of the church. The fact that the leadership never confronted them and told them about the gravity of their sinful living arrangement is very, very preoccupying and a very serious neglect of obedience to God’s word.

    So what we have here is people living in open sinful behavior, we have church leadership sinning because they are allowing this couple to continue to live in this way and not confronting them with the truth of the word of God regarding this sinful practice.

    Now what we have here is a situation where both he sheep and the shepherds are not behaving in obedience to God’s word.

    Why is this happening?

    It’s happening because both the couple and the shepherds do not think like God does. They are blatantly disregarding God’s word and both justify their sinful behavior because they do not have their minds renewed by God’s word.

    If the leadership thought like God thinks then they would have confronted them and led them to get married, in other words become obedient to God’s word and stop sinning. That is one of the pastors and elders’ responsibilities.

    There is such thing as ecclesiastical discipline as described in 1 Corinthians 5.

    Many churches are very, very reluctant to do as the word of God commands in this chapter. In fact the majority do not!

    The reason?

    There is no good reason, they sin by leaving people in a state of sinfulness. The main reason I believe is because they don’t want to offend the people. What a crock! So they offend God instead?

    As we can clearly see they don’t think like God, the way God thinks is what He commands in 1 Corinthians 5.

    The leaders in this case are even more guilty as they are those who are supposed to think and act in the church, like God does.

    The couple is certainly guilty of living in sin and obviously need to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, however, if they don’t do it themselves then the church leadership is supposed to help them with this process. It’s called discipleship!

    If the couple thought like God then they would hurry up and rectify the situation by getting married and foregoing the excuses of why they couldn’t or wouldn’t.

    If the leadership thought like God they would have confronted them immediately and taught them what the word of God says about their sinful situation as well as warning them of the dire consequences of continuing to disobey God, including as a last resort, being put out of fellowship if it had to come to that.

    This is what they would have done if they thought like God. God wants our good and wants us to think and then act like He does or how He would want us to behave.

    The ironic and very scary thing about this situation is this, the leadership and this entire denomination believes the doctrine that one can lose their salvation if they live in sin. So if they really believed in this doctrine, which by the way is false and we know why, then why aren’t they concerned that these people are in danger of losing their salvation?

    It seems that they totally do not think like God, they don’t have the mind of Christ. God forgives all our sins but this does not give us Card Blanche, it does not give us the authorization to continue in a sinful lifestyle. God requires that we turn away from sinfulness. There are serious temporal consequences to continue in sin even if we are forgiven for them in an eternal sense.

    God’s discipline in this case will be severe upon the couple if they continue in this sin and God’s discipline will be even more severe upon the leadership who should know better and should have known better what to do. According to the very doctrine they believe in, howbeit erroneous, they would be allowing the couple to be in danger of the fire of hell because they did not want to confront their sinful behavior. So they, according to their erroneous doctrine would be helping these people go to hell by not stopping them from sinning, this is insanity!

    All this is disobedience on both sides and I am telling you it is because they don’t have their minds renewed by God’s word and therefore cannot be transformed and meanwhile they are conforming to the ways of the world.

    Not renewing one’s mind brings believers to think and therefore behave like the world does.

    Another issue for example, taking contraception as believers. This behavior is totally wrong and it’s thinking like the world thinks and doing things how the world does.

    Many Christians do not think there is anything wrong with this but everything is wrong with it!

    People including Christians will try to justify this by pulling all kinds of things out of their hats. It’s really unjustifiable behavior for Christians yet they do it all the time.

    This behavior stems from faulty thinking. If and when a Christian thinks like the world instead of thinking like God then their behavior becomes erroneous and sinful.

    Most of the time Christians still sin by faulty thoughts more than doing it willingly. Now if and when confronted and taught the right way they persist in wanting to sin then the issue becomes rebellion and then the leadership in the church needs to apply disciplinary action for sure.

    Now, let’s look at the issue of contraception. Most Christians and I say most because it’s not all, will believe for example that abortion is wrong. Some think abortion is not OK always but OK sometimes according to the circumstances. First of all if abortion is murder it’s murder always so it’s always a sin. There is no such thing as circumstantial sin. When something is sin it’s always sin, it’s like God never changes His mind on what sin is because of the circumstance. If lying is a sin and it is, then it’s always a sin. Yet people and even many Christians erroneously think that in some circumstances it’s OK to lie. Some think that if the lie is the lesser sin then it’s OK to lie, yet it’s never OK to lie. God is able to defend any situation when the truth is spoken. It’s always damaging to sin no matter how little we think the sin might be. In other words there are no white lies nor small sins. Jesus died to forgive all our sins, that is, even those little white lies as the world calls them.

    So if Jesus died for all sins then we have no business lying as it is always an offense to God.

    We cannot opinionate the gravity of crtain sins while reducing the importance or gravity of other sins because we do not retain them serious or grevious enough. When and if we do so we make the same error that the Roman religion makes because they elevate the gravity of certain sins while they reduce the seriousness of others calling them venial or mortal. All sins are mortal when they are not forgiven and taken away by Jesus’ sacrifice because they are all transgressions of God’s law and the wages of sin is death. All our sins, all of them have caused Jesus to die in order to forgive them.

    See, we see that even this is erroneous thinking, it’s worldly thinking, it’s not thinking like God.

    Let’s get back to contraception now.

    Are all forms of contraception wrong and sinful? The world thinks they are not but God does thinks they are.

    Actively preventing a life to occur is sinful because only God has the power over life and death and man should never interfere in what God wants to do. When a person, let’s say a Christian uses contraception they are placing their own will above God’s will. How can we pray Thy will be done when we are the ones that try to circumvent God’s will?

    Obviously God from the very beginning showed His stance on the sanctity of life and how important procreation is when He declared this and He actually declared several times:

    Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    Now it is obvious that we are talking about married Christians here. The people who have sex out of wedlock and use contraception really only have one problem they are living in sin to begin with, so the use of contraception is immaterial in a sense, it’s just a secondary compounding sin of the first one.

    Let’s take a married couple whether Christian or not, this is when the contraception is utmost sinful. God blessed Adam and Eve and gave them a commandment, be fruitful and multiply. This was not a suggestion but a blessing and a disclosure of God’s will for married people.

    If we in anyway disobey this commandment we are sinning. It should be, it’s in fact only God’s prerogative and His will if a Christian should bear children or not, not the couples’.

    It’s never OK for man to play God! God is God and especially we as Christians should live in a way that is conformed and obedient to His will and not ours.

    There are many reasons why people don’t want to have children but all the reasons and also all the methods they employ to avoid having children, beside abstinence and even that is at least questionable, are an offense to God.

    Christians are to do things God’s way always and in every sphere of life, after all that is exactly what Paul tells us in the beginning of this chapter, to offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is our reasonable service of worship.

    We did study this and if you were paying attention you would remember that this meant that we are to serve God according to His will and His word in every aspect of our life and to make use of our body according to God’s pleasure and not ours. When our pleasure is in line with God’s then it’s OK but when it’s not then it’s sinful.

    Now if we look before and fast forward past the renewing of our mind which is what we are studying now, we find that the word of God wants us to be transformed and our mind renewed so that we can do what? That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    See these two verses are all working into several things but the very goal in the end is to prove, or know God’s will, to realize that God’s will is always good and this is the only way we can agree, in other words accept it, God’s word is acceptable and it’s perfect.

    So when we disagree with the word of God or when we resist it, mostly it’s because we cannot understand it and we cannot understand it because our minds are not renewed by the word of God.

    Therefore we do not behave properly and we sin for the same reason, in the end we don’t offer our bodies as a living sacrifice in a worshipful service to God. So we have seen this whole issue now in the reverse.

    So now we know why Christians object to the prohibition of such things as in our case in point contraception because in reality they want to do things their way and they don’t trust God in doing what is right for them if they just obeyed and trusted God.

    If we believe that God’s will is good and acceptable and perfect then why would we not let God have His way with us?

    Now I picked the subject of contraception because I believe it’s a big issue among Christians. I believe that many believers indulge in the use of various methods to avoid having children.

    Basically they adopt the customs of the world in the way they make their decisions. They bypass praying about it, they bypass trusting God and they choose instead to trust their own understanding.

    There is a proverb in God’s word that says:

    Proverbs 3:5-9 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

    This Scripture says it all, it’s not difficult to understand.

    For believers the word of God also says this: We should trust God in everything and not put our trust in our own understanding of things, we should make all decisions to glorify and honor God and in doing so He will direct our steps. We should not use our own wisdom, basically think we know better, but respecting the Lord we should depart from every form of evil and when and if we do all this we will be healthy both in our emotional and physical life without mentioning spiritual.

    Also look at what the next Scripture says:

    Psalms 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
    4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

    As we see children are a heritage of the Lord, they are both an inheritance unto the Lord and a reward of he Lord to believers. God says they are a great blessing from Him. So why reject and refuse this blessing? Preventing births is like rejecting God’s gift to us.

    Sadly although seeing all this Christians will still use all kinds of justifications, reasons and opinions of why they cannot have children or raise them.

    I have heard many excuses and they all are invalid because God’s will overrides all our opinions and reasons.

    We must look at this also from another prospective, the prospective of the fact that ALL contraceptives end the cycle of life. If and when sexual activity is going on there will be an exchange of male sperm which contains life. By stopping that life from going where it has to go according to how God has designed it is placing ourselves in God’s place and overriding His decision and in addition it’s the termination of life in the end.

    In addition if this was not enough the majority of pharmaceutical contraceptives are either spermicide or abortifacient or they also prevent a female egg that has been already inseminated to adhere to the uterus which prevents the embryo to live. That’s destroying life!

    Scientist argue that since the inseminated egg even without contraception many times do not survive and latch onto the uterus that therefore we cannot consider it a life otherwise there is a considerable loss of life even without contraception.

    This argument is fallacious and erroneous because it assumes that the inseminated egg is not a life. It is! The actual true assumption they make is that there can be and there is in fact loss of life in many cases even without the use of contraception, the only difference is that when the loss occurs because it’s entirely and only God’s will that it happened it is all together different than when man interjects his and her interruption of the process of conception and cause the loss of life.

    In the latter case man is guilty of destroying life. Only God has the prerogative, the power and the right over life and death not man. As I said all and any reason given to avoid becoming pregnant is erroneous and it goes against God’s will.

    We see that often it becomes problematic for a believer to think like God thinks about life issues because the mind is not renewed, because the believer still is very far away from having the mind of Christ.

    So how do we get it? Renewing our minds, how do we renew our minds?

    There is really only one way we can renew our minds and achieve the mind of Christ and think like God.

    We renew our mind by knowing God ! How do we know God? We get to know God and His thoughts only through knowing how He is and how He thinks through the word of God and the person of Jesus Christ.

    Only the written word of God can do this in us, there are no shortcuts, there are no other ways!

    We have seen what the ways of the world are and how they condition and program our minds.

    We have to recondition and reprogram our minds and we can only do it through God’s word.

    Many in a segment of the church, especially in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement believe that in order to know God and His thoughts one must spend hours on end in some type of mystical condition of prayer. They think, erroneously that getting to know God is done through ascetic practices and through massive amounts of time spent, as they say, in God’s presence and that one must achieve the special spiritual language to communicate with God and then receive what they call the rhema word of God.

    This type of ideology is faulty and it is filled with spiritual pride and self righteousness. I am not saying that there is no value to spend time with God, there is, but there is a specific and a right way of doing it and a wrong way also. Their way is wrong!

    First of all let’s take a look at the word rhema. Rhema is the Greek word for spoken word. The Faith Movement/Charismatic Groups distinguish between “Logos” meaning the “written word” of God or the Bible and the “Rhema” which is the ” the direct spoken word” of God.

    Thus, they speak in terms of receiving “actual audible words from God” or “words for the here and now, “which they call Rhema words. In contrast, the Bible itself, the written word of God, according to them is associated only with the term Logos.

    While on the surface Rhema words are said to require conformity to the Logos word (written word), in practical terms, according to the charismatics, they make them actually become more significant to the life of the believer than the Logos (written word) because they say they provide direct guidance for our current circumstances and choices on a day to day basis. Hence the thought is that a person must become enveloped into a mystical state in order to hear this type of word from God.

    Ultimately, this effectively results in the so called Rhema word becoming actually superior to the Bible particularly in terms of making decisions “what we ought to do in the present situation.”

    However, taking the form of “what the Lord personally reveals or confirms in your spirit,” the Rhema word also becomes superior in doctrine. Since many of them think that the Bible is “long, cumbersome, and complicated” and “no one in the end agrees about what it says,” the Rhema word therefore comes in and bypasses all that confusion and arguing and analysis by letting the “Holy Spirit” so they believe, to reveal to each individual what is right without all that impossible effort of endless Bible analysis.

    Over time, our right or authority to do anything becomes vested only in the “Rhema” word, and the infinitely debatable meaning of the Logos word reduces the Bible to irrelevance for both day to day living and then even doctrine.

    To exemplify how those in the Faith Movement apply this doctrine, imagine that you come to speak to a person about doctrine. That person may then respond by asking you, “did God tell you to talk to me about this?” If you say that God did not speak to you directly with a Rhema word, then you will be viewed as acting on your own authority and will be dismissed or they may listen to what you say to them from the written word but then later on they will seek for themselves the rhema and if they don’t get the same result or if they get an entirely different answer in their mind from the written word you gave them they will choose the rhema instead of the written word. Therefore again elevating the Rhema above the Scriptures.

    If perhaps you responded by saying, “Yes, in the Bible God instructs us to do such thing.” In this case, the other person will dismiss you as arrogant because you claim to know what the Bible teaches in an area where others disagree and have difficulty proving what’s correct. Thus, effectively, only a Rhema word from God is sufficient.

    This in turn makes it necessary that everyone receive personal “words from God” on a fairly regular or at least “as-needed” basis. (However, Christians must be very careful to avoid asserting that God has spoken to them directly or given them “a word,” when and if that is not the case.)

    Conversely, according to this theory the Bible becomes insufficient for doctrine and daily living, because it is inevitably flawed by human disagreement over its meaning. So, while originally presented merely as a supplement to the Bible, the Rhema word actually becomes a replacement for the Bible.

    These believe in a way that God will somehow make Himself known to them and explain how He is and what His will is for their life only if some kind of special spiritual conditions are present. Actually what they seek is some form of mysticism.

    This is very dangerous because when we bypass the Bible and rely on mystical voices or feelings we are actually in danger of believing imaginations and even demonic voices and counsel rather than God’s true and written word, which is also the spoken word anyway.

    The word of God is always a rhema because it was always spoken by Jesus and the Apostles and by the Holy Spirit but then it was written so we may actually have it always.

    Let’s take a look at what the Scriptures say about themselves.

    Look for example at what Paul says about God’s word:

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    What we see here is a passage that entirely destroys the charismatic rhema doctrine and makes it false.

    Paul says ALL of what? Scripture! The written word is a rhema word and in fact it is given only by inspiration of God or better understood as it is God breathed, given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Paul then says that Scripture is profitable for doctrine, correction, instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be what? Here the word perfect is written which translated for better understanding means complete and thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    I would ask you to focus on the words, Scripture, complete and thoroughly furnished. According to what Paul is saying here a believer does not need the rehema word as the charismatics claim we should have, but as Paul says, all we need is the rehema of the written word, Scripture and not anything else.

    Scripture is sufficient to complete the believer and it is sufficient to equip the believer with all he or she needs. God’s guidance for the here and now is sufficiently found in the written word.

    The English definition of thoroughly is this: completely, perfectly, accurately, fully in command and being fully in mastery of something.

    The English definition of furnished is: equipped, supplied, provided for.

    As we see Scripture is not only the logos but it is also the rhema word although written. It is Scripture that is uttered by the Spirit of God to those men who put it in writing, so it is effectively a rhema.

    Scripture is sufficient to complete the believer, in other words to give him and make him into what God wants him to have and to become, and it’s Scripture that sufficiently provides doctrine, there it is, the right doctrine is found in Scripture only, it provides sufficient reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.

    Scripture is sufficient to make a believer complete in their mastery of understanding and doing God’s will, it fully equips and supplies and provides all that we need. So we need not to go look any further than in the Scriptures in order for God to speak to us.
    Already in Paul’s days look at what he says:

    1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.

    Paul is warning to be very careful not to go make judgments beyond what is written so that we don’t become arrogant and turn against each other. This is exactly what I was saying before, those who exceed what we find written in Scripture become spiritually proud and arrogant thinking that they are spiritually better than those who are not receiving the so called rehema, the audible direct word from God. This is dangerous and also sad and it has truly ruined many lives, the lives of those who claim to have heard the rhema and the lives of those who listened to those who told them what to do according to their rhema instead of the written word.

    Peter also made a couple of very important statements in his epistles regarding the subject of Scripture.

    The first one we will look at is found in:

    2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

    Peter here first of all makes a very important statement when he parallels but separates two ministries for two different times.

    He says that in the past there were false prophets as in the future there would be false teachers.

    We must ask ourselves then, why the distinction between the two? If prophets in the future of the church were to be an integral part of it why not say that there would be false prophets also in the future?

    It is obvious then that there was to be and there was a shift at one point, a shift in a specific position of ministry. Peter is giving us a clear understanding that this is actually a thing that involves the word of God, in other words Scriptures.

    Prophets in the past received a direct word from God and then they wrote it down. They did the same in the Apostolic days when the word of God was not yet entirely recorded as the New Testament Scriptures were in the making.

    Yet, Peter sees a future day when the role of the prophet would be replaced or better would be incorporated by the role of the teacher of the word of God.

    This is because when all the necessary revelations and prophecies have been recorded in the written word then the teacher of the word of God becomes in essence also the prophet but by all means it’s teaching and interpreting God’s word that becomes the norm once prophecies to the church are completed as they are today. There can be no more authoritative words coming from God apart and beyond Scripture because if there were it would mean that the word of God is not complete.

    So obviously Peter now rightly makes the distinction and the difference between prophets of the past and teachers of the future.

    This fact alone gives us more insight into the fact that the word of God that is valid and sufficient is the written word not the rhema word as the charismatics interpret it and claim it is.

    It is for this very reason that Peter warns that many will be effected in a very negative and destructive way by these false doctrines, not only those who will believe them and accept and follow them but they will be destructive and damning fr those who will teach them as the second chapter of this epistle clearly states.

    Peter also preceded this previous passage we just read by saying this:

    2 Peter 1:16-21 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

    This is a very, very important passage as it describes the Apostles’ eyewitness of the presence of the Lord Jesus and even most specifically he is making a precise reference to Jesus’ transfiguration when Peter, John and James were present and actually saw and heard this:

    This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

    See relative passages on the episode in question found in Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35.

    But then Peter says something really interesting and very important, he says that even though they saw all that with their own eyes, he does not place the readers’ confidence nor even his in their own eyewitness testimony rather he says:

    We have also a more sure word of prophecy; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

    This means that Peter is placing his trust in a more sure witness than their own, even more important to their own eyewitness and that is the surety and reliability of the word of prophecy regarding the person of Jesus Christ.

    The word of prophecy Peter is talking about is the Old Testament Scriptures, by the way the only Scriptures they had at that time, the body of the New Testament canon of Scripture had yet not been completed, it was in the making.

    The importance of this passage is enormous because it places the real emphasis on the word of God rather than experience. Not that their experience was not real or valid, it was and it was great, however this passage really tells us that what was written about the miracles and the signs and wonders of the time are not what people should be seeking today or even then for that matter.

    Such things are recorded and the witness was and is about Jesus Christ and the validity of His divinity and lordship that can be and should be based on the more sure and reliable testimony of Scripture rather than the experiences, miracles, signs and wonders people can experience.

    This is true even when the latter can be confirmed by Scripture, we need to verify the validity of experiences by testing their accuracy and veracity through the test of Scripture. Let’s remember that Peter is warning us that in the future there would be false teachers as in the past there were false prophets. So many of the more recent teachings must be examined well and tested by the accurate scrutiny of the word of God.

    Let’s also remember that miracles, signs and wonders are mentioned by Jesus and the Apostles’ writings as being something that in the latter days of this age would be false and attributed to Satan’s power in order to deceive people in order to turn them away from the truth.

    Matthew 24:23-24 then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

    So as we understand by the words of our Lord, personal experiences, visible miracles, signs and wonders and even dreams are not a reliable source of divine revelation. Only the written word of God is reliable and it is more sure. So people should really concentrate on seeking God’s written word rather than experiences, miracles, signs, wonders and dreams and even some kind of audible word.

    Every rule has exceptions, that’s for sure, but that’s what they are, exceptions. The word of God is the rule, other things exceptions, and even these have to be carefully verified as genuine and real by the testing of the written word of God. Let me just say this, if a person hears something or utters something that is the same as what we find in the written word these things are at the very least superfluous, useless because God already told us these things in His written word.

    If things are heard or uttered and they are in conflict with God’s written word then we know the source is not God.

    Now, we need to qualify that prophecy is not always what we think it is in terms only Old Testament meaning.

    Prophecy in OT terms was mostly an act of foretelling in God’s behalf things that would or will come to pass. That however is not what prophecy exclusively is. Let’s remember that in the Apostolic period the Scriptures we know today as New Testament were in the process of being written. New Testament prophecy therefore was the written word in the making.

    In the Greek language a prophet means an interpreter, in fact in Greek that is what the word really signifies. So in New Testament terms a prophet would be someone to whom new divine revelation was given but it was also a person who had the ability of interpreting the word of God.

    In fact if we really take into consideration Paul’s first writing to the Corinthians we actually understand very clearly why he says some of the things he says. He is actually speaking in this very context when he addresses the Corinthian church and instructs them regarding spiritual gits.

    Let’s look at what Paul says:

    1 Corinthians 14:1-5 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
    2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

    This is a very important and misunderstood passage especially misunderstood in the Pentecostal/charismatic movements.

    Paul had already addressed in chapters 12 and 13 some things that the Corinthian church was having problems with. Mostly they coveted within the church the more visible and supernaturally evident gifts.
    Mainly is seems that they really had a fetish with speaking in other languages. Remind you of someone today? Paul instead places first of all love above all spiritual gifts and not only but he says that the gifts, all of them must be used in conformity with love and the greater good of all the assembly.

    In other words the church should desire the gifts that most edify everybody and not just a few or even ourselves. In fact in the passage we are studying now he says to do all for love, to desire that in the church the better gifts be active. He actually places speaking in other languages at the very last place and of secondary importance. He did so even in chapter 12 when he actually places the gifts in the church in a priority order.

    1 Corinthians 12:27-31 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts.

    First Apostles, second prophets, third teachers then workers of miracles, healing and help, administration in last place speaking in languages. Then he asks a series of questions which only have one right answer, the answer is no. Not all are apostles, not all are prophets and not all teachers as as well as not all work miracles nor heal and not all speak in other languages nor do they all interpret.

    As we said, then Paul in chapter 14 tells them that prophecy or teaching is better than speaking in languages because those gifts edify the entire church yet languages edifies the church only when there is someone that interprets the language that is spoken.

    In fact, Paul prohibits the speaking in tongues if there is not interpretation.

    1 Corinthians 14:26-28 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, everyone of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

    What Paul is saying here is that for the love of the church and the growth and the blessing of the church the gifts that edify the church are to be practiced. There was a time and a place for speaking in languages but it was specifically a gift practiced for a specific purpose and that purpose only,
    see 1 Corinthians 14:21-22.

    All this to say that even in those days prophecy or the teaching of the word of God was and still is the most important and most edifying gift in the church.

    In reality the gifts of healing and miracles as well as tongues were really not for the church but were, as we have categorized them, the sign gifts. They were a sign for unbelieving Israel that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was God’s true word and revelation.

    If we even do a superficial study of the Apostolic days and the history of the church of the first century we find that all the miracles, the healing were done first of all mostly by Apostles or the few initial leaders of the church and that such were mostly, almost all of them done as a sign to unbelievers and not gifts practiced in the church.

    As Paul says though prophecy and teaching is uniquely for the edification, encouragement, exhortation and reproof in the church.
    So why did we say all this? To understand that the prophetic gift and ministry is for the growth and encouragement of the church and in the church it is therefore the most important gift even as Paul explains.

    Therefore the supernatural and direct revelation of prophecy of the NT prophets was such only until the entire body of NT Scripture was revealed and written. Once written the gift and ministry of prophecy and teaching actually were bonded together. Remember what Peter said before that as there were false prophets in the past there would be false teachers in the future.

    This language used is very important. As we said even Peter makes the distinction between the past and the future, when prophecy and teaching would become one and the same.

    This very thing would happen once the entire canon of NT Scripture would be completed through the divine revelation put down in writing by the Apostles and prophets who are the actual foundation of the church.

    Ephesians 2:20-21 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

    So now we have seen that the NT prophets together with the Apostles who in their own right actually were the rare few who were gifted with all of the gifts and ministries, they wrote and completed God’s written revelation we call the NT Scriptures which also contain all the prophecies for the church.

    What we have today in our possession is the entire, complete, sufficient, inerrant, inspired word of God and we do not need any other direct revelation or rhema.

    Having now concluded all this and this was necessary in order to establish the sufficiency of Scripture we can then tackle the next subject, renewing or mind by knowing God through His word and know the power of God through His word. In other words we will have to renew our mind by bringing our thought pattern to match God’s.

    Jesus once was confronted by the Sadducees regarding a specific subject. We need to take a very good look at what happens in this episode and pay very close attention to what Jesus says.

    Matthew 22:23-28 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

    There are a few interesting and important things we need to see in this section of the episode.

    Matthew himself makes us understand the spiritual beliefs of the Sadducees by stating that they did not believe in the resurrection. They also did not believe in angels, in addition they believed that the word of God was only the Pentateuch, meaning only the first five books of the Old Testament canon.

    In contrast the Pharisees believed that all of what we have today as the entire canon of the Old Testament Scriptures was and is the inspired word of God, they also believed in the resurrection and they believed in angels as well.

    So as we see the Sadducees were the liberals of the day, renouncing even the resurrection. In addition they were the ones that were in charge of the financial economy and wealth of the Temple and the ones who used to profit from the scamming of the temple finances and they were the ones that held the office of high priest and the majority in the Sanhedrin. They were the more political religious sect in the Jewish religion.

    So these guys now come and ask Jesus these questions by actually mentioning even the resurrection at the end of their question, which is kind of ironic and hypocritical coming from those who don’t believe in the resurrection. This by the way happens a lot between believers as well.

    The interesting and important thing is what Jesus answers them:

    Matthew 22:29-32 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

    Jesus tells them they are mistaking. Why? Because they don’t know the Scriptures and by not knowing them they were ignorant about the power of God!

    Why? Because the power of God is described in the Scriptures, even the ones they believed in, in fact they did not even know the very Scriptures they claimed to know because if they did they would have believed in the resurrection.

    In addition Jesus in His answer actually confirms that ALL the OT canon of Scripture is indeed the inspired word of God and He also confirms the existence of angels in His answer.

    They were truly ignorant of the very Scriptures they claimed to know and believe.

    In fact Jesus tells them about the episode where Moses encounters God at the burning bush,
    Exodus 3:6. That episode was in the Pentateuch, in other words the books they claimed had sole divine inspiration and authority. In addition they could have not known the Scriptures very well because in the book of Genesis it also mentions the presence of angels, for example see

    Genesis 3:24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

    Jesus states that God was and is the God of the living not the dead, meaning in this case that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob although physically dead were not dead, this was what Jesus even claimed about Himself when He said:

    John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

    The Sadducees were erring because of the ignorance they had regarding Scripture even in the very books they believed in.

    This is the condition of many, many so called believers today as well. I say so called believers because if they say to believe in God and His word then why don’t they?

    They make the same errors as the Sadducees make, they make claims and have opinions of many things but they err regarding the issues because their level of Scriptural ignorance or Biblical illiteracy is astounding.

    Now you may think I am arrogant or proud thinking that I may be a Scriptural know it all and that I am accusing others of not being able to understand or know the Bible as well as I do, or that I have all the answers.

    No, that is not at all what I am saying! All I am saying that the level of Biblical ignorance is their own fault in many cases. Every believer has the same Holy Spirit and has the same opportunities to know the meaning of Scripture if they apply themselves to the proper learning and proper interpretation of the word of God.

    In most cases, as I said, it’s the fault of the believer. If we desire to know God and how He truly is and if we desire to know what He truly says and teaches then we will tackle the study of the word of God with humility and we will find the true meaning of Scripture by allowing the word to speak to us by God’s Spirit’s guidance.

    An additional and very dangerous thing that impairs believers to arrive at the true knowledge of God and His word are false teachings and false teachers. Unfortunately a lot and I mean a lot of believers are taught erroneous doctrines to which they subscribe and cling to in spite of the fact that the truth is made available to them.

    This has happens mostly because what Paul prophesied has become a reality:

    2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    The fact that people believe in false doctrines rather than the doctrines taught by Jesus and the Apostles is twofold.

    The first one is because they actually like doctrines that inflate their own ego and that cater to their flesh.

    This actually is led by the making of the image of God in their own image rather than knowing and seeing God as He reveals Himself in His word.

    They choose some of God’s attributes and then they say that is how God is while they completely ignore and eliminate His other attributes.

    For example, stating that God is love is true, 1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:16; however God is much more than just love and we also need to qualify what God’s love is, how God practices love is as important as the fact that He is love.

    Yet, these take this statement, God is love and they know nothing else, or better they choose not to know anything else but that attribute of God.

    So doing this do you see this as being problematic? I do and it is very problematic.

    God is indeed love but God is also truth for example, so God’s love and His truth are inseparable, so now God is love but He is also truth, that is after all what Jesus said about Himself. I am the way the truth and the life.

    God is love and truth, God is mercy but God is also holy, righteous and just. God hates sin and will judge sin. That is what God says about Himself yet many and I mean many believers are entirely opposed to seeing God in His more negative attributes, negative from a worldly and carnal standpoint.

    One great attribute of God which is either totally ignored and rejected by many and greatly misunderstood for example is God’s sovereignty. God is entirely sovereign over the affairs of man see

    Daniel 2:20-22; and

    Daniel 4:34-35 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

    Isaiah 43:13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”

    Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.

    Pretty clear right? These are just a few.

    God bypasses human free will whenever He wants and that is a lot. In salvation He is absolutely sovereign in His choice, He bypasses the human will because if He did not no one could be saved as people are unable by themselves to decide, to believe and to do what God wants them to do.

    God is absolutely sovereign over Satan and all he wants to do see Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-6. God is transcendent from evil but He controls it and permits is to happen when and only when it coincides or it intersects with His own will and He will often turn good out of it.

    This is a very complex subject and I do not want to take the time here and now to study it, although throughout this study we had plenty of opportunities to study it.

    Suffices to say that most believers will say God is sovereign but then they go as far as denying or limiting God’s power. Let’s remember that God is also omnipotent, in other words has all power to do anything He desires to do to bring about His will. To say that God for some reason is bound by human free will or bound in some way to the work and power of angels and men is really a blasphemy and an offense to God’s person.

    As I always say, with God there is no plan B! Only plan A, His plan! No one and nothing can surprise Him ever, no one and nothing can resist His will and power. No human or angel can do anything unless God permits is to happen, in any way God has the ultimate word on everything and everyone.

    God permits and causes evil to be to also do His will. Let’s remember that ALL things work together for good only for those who love God and are called according to His purpose, those who belong to Satan and do evil are bound to evil and to the consequences of their evil ways.

    God has complete control over evil and He limits it. He places boundaries and He removes them as He sees fit. Evil will touch and control its own and God will allow it. We must stop seeing people as innocent but as filthy, rotten sinners who deserve God’s wrath. When we do this even regarding ourselves then we will begin to understand that when evil touches evil it is a just and right thing and it’s not an innocent person who gets unfair treatment.
    The wages of sin is death and all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.

    If and when God leaves man to the consequences of their own free sinful will it means that God’s mercy is not there in the same way it is for His children. God is always merciful even with the wicked because if He wasn’t He would judge them immediately with immediate death. Sometimes the most merciful thing God can do is to judge someone wicked with death because in so doing God will spare more evil wickedness to proliferate. Thus we understand why God ordered His people in the OT when they conquered the promised land to kill and destroy even women and children. This sounds cruel only because we think with human understanding and we do not see things from the divine perspective. God was judging evil, wicked and idolatrous people and was trying to avoid that evil to propagate and spread into His people’s lives. God also instituted the death penalty for first degree premeditated murder which by the way abortion is also. However society not only does not practice the death penalty in these cases, thinking that it is merciful and just in so sparing murderers.

    In reality they are allowing evil to grow even more rampant in the hearts of men.

    Ecclesiastes 8:11-14 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: 13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God. 14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity

    When true justice is not executed speedily, never mind not executed, but not executed speedily, men’s hearts are fully set to do evil. This is how evil increases!

    This entire passage actually explains what we are talking about even in saying that God will work all things together for good for His children but the wicked although it may even seem that they get away with things they will not get away with anything and things will not be at all well for them. In fact it also says that the righteous will be treated as unjust and the unjust like a righteous person, even this is what a ungodly human society will do and even this is sin, but God will make it right in the end.

    Anyway, evil belongs to evil and evil will be judged and destroyed by God. This is really what man’s free will is, evil and rebellion against God and if God did not intervene and bypass man’s evil free will then evil would always win but evil never will win against God. It may win over those who belong to evil but evil does not win against God and His purposes and God’s children. It may appear at times that it does but we must always remember God’s promise that ALL THINGS work together for good for those who live God and are called according to His purpose.

    A great example of this is Joseph, a man who suffered much evil done against him, first from his brothers, then from a wicked lying adulteress who falsely accused him and had him imprisoned for several years.

    Yet, God was always with Joseph and He worked all things together for his good but not only for his own good but for the good of the very people who had worked evil against him, his brothers.

    Listen to what he says to his brothers after he forgives them:

    Genesis 50:19-20 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

    What they meant for evil God meant it for good, God’s will and His purpose overcame man’s evil intent and made worked it all out for good. God limited the evil that was planned against Joseph and then turned the whole thing around to benefit Joseph and to benefit even his brothers and if you think about it even the very woman who had him thrown into jail.

    God does this all the time for His elect. Man’s free will does not have the power to withstand God’s will. Many times it may seem that man’s free will and man’s decisions might be more powerful than God or that God is doing nothing to override them. In reality He often does not anull them or stops them rather He brings out of them His will, He transforms the end results. Often a long time has to go by such as happened in Joseph’s life, but eventually God will do it. As a matter of fact many times we find written through Joseph’s story, when things were turning for the worse, it says “but the Lord was with Joseph.” This is written for us believers, so we understand and learn that when things don’t seem to go right for us God is with us and if we trust Him He will make them work for our good.

    After all that is His promise, is it not? Romans 8:28.

    This is all said to make the point about believers that do not really believe or accept God’s sovereignty in all things. Many are willing to accept God’s sovereignty except when it comes to their own salvation then in that case they insist that God would not violate their own free choice and therefore they claim that they had somehow and for some reason the ability on their own to bend their own free will to make it conformed to God’s will but yet they claim that God does not have that ability to do so.

    Wow! So what they are actually saying without actually saying it that their own will can do what God’s will cannot do. In other words their free will is stronger than God’s will because it has the power either to resist God’s will and also to make God’s will bend to their own. This is ludicrous!

    These are insults to God’s person on part of those who claim to love God. However we understand by all this that they do not really know God as He is nor are their minds renewed. They don’t have the mind of Christ or the mind of God because they do not think like God thinks nor do they agree with how God really is.

    The most dangerous thing about all this, in other words the danger in making an image of God in our minds different from how God really is, is that it leads to a false image of God and if this condition persists without correction not only it promotes and facilitates the belief of false doctrines but it actually causes idolatry.

    You see worshiping an image, any image even one of the true God that does not reflect Him in the truth of who He is is being in danger of practicing idolatry and often leads into idolatry.

    A lot of people make God in an image that reflects themselves, that reflects their thoughts and ways, that is creating God in their own image and likeness while if you remember correctly it is man who is created in His image and likeness.

    This is a very important concept regarding what we are discussing here, in other words the renewing of out minds. We need to renew our minds if we want to understand correctly who and how God really is.

    The only way to do this is to make our mind conformed with the word of God.

    As Jesus aptly said to the Sadducees as we read before, they were erring in their thoughts and beliefs because they did not know the word of God properly and because of that they did not know God properly and because they did not know God properly they did not know the power of God.

    We did get here a round about way but we had to establish what the word of God really is, we had to establish the sufficiency of Scripture and that its authority and content is the only word of God that is necessary for God to speak to us. It’s sufficient to be able to come to the proper knowledge of God and know how God really is. We do not need mystical, special experiences to hear form God nor does God reveal Himself to us through some special revelation that we can obtain through a mystical and ascetic spiritual life. We are to live by faith and not by sight.

    2 Corinthians 5:7 We live by faith, not by sight.

    We saw that even Peter claims that thy had a much greater witness than their own eye witness an that was the written word of God.

    Faith is believing and obeying what God says and the only way we can know what He says is through Scripture which we believe is His written word.

    Living by sight also means living trusting emotions and experiences rather than God’s word, that is not living by faith.

    Let’s remember that that was exactly what the Jews problem was, they always sought visible signs and wonders to believe God but we clearly see that that was actually not sufficient for them to believe God.

    1 Corinthians 1:21-22 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

    As we clearly understand from this previous passage it’s the preaching of the Gospel, which is God’s written account of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and Lordship that needs to be believed, that’s the same as saying having faith. Having faith means believing what God says and who He is.

    In spite of all the visual evidence of signs and wonders which were actually God’s works the Jews still did not believe God’s word. This was their spiritual condition, God accused them of being unbelieving not so much because they did not believe the signs and wonders, but because these are not sufficient to bring a person to believe God’s word. This was rendered very evident by the fact that they did not believe who Jesus was simply because He performed miracles, the Jewish leaders did not even believe Jesus’ works as they attributed His works to Satan.

    Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

    They still absolutely did not believe His words as being God’s word, they rejected Him as God.

    The book of Hebrews specifically addresses the Jewish unbelief or lack of faith even though they had the eyewitness and were the recipients of all of God’s wonders.

    Hebrews 3:7-12 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

    This is a key passage, it says they saw God’s works, miracles and wonders for forty years, yet God condemns them of unbelief. He says they had erred in their heart and did not know His ways. Does that not sound familiar? It’s the same accusation Jesus gave to the Sadducees. Why did they err and not know the power of God? Do you remember? Because they did not know the Scriptures and not know God. It’s the same exact accusation. It means being faithless because faith is believing what God says and who God really is.

    In fact the word of God says in Hebrews to be careful of those who have an evil heart of unbelief and therefore they depart from the living God.

    That is what unbelief does, it makes one depart form God. As we see it’s lack of faith and of course that separate us from God and makes one depart from God. This Scripture does not at all make reference to someone who has believed and then later on departs from God but it speaks of unbelief which keeps one from believing and therefore becoming saved.

    Without faith one cannot believe and belief in the Gospel is what is required to be saved. Without faith remember one cannot please God, that is faith in Jesus Christ as God is pleased only in who Jesus is and what Jesus did.

    There are a couple of passages in the Gospel of John that help us understand what kind of faith God is pleased with and what kind of belief although apparently looking as sufficient is not at all valid.

    The first passage is found in:

    John 2:23-25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

    As we see here the passage says that these people believed in Jesus because they saw the miracles He did. Yet it says Jesus did not commit to their belief because He knew they did not believe in Him as God wants people to believe, they saw the works and that is what they desired, they desired what He could do for them not who He was. In other words God and Lord.

    They did not really believe in Him as God requires. Therefore we can establish that faith God desires does not come from seeking God’s works but it’s believing His word and who He is, in our case believing in His Son Jesus Christ.

    The second passage that helps us understand this concept is actually found in the following chapter of the Gospel of John.

    John 3:1-2 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

    I want you to focus on what Nicodemus says. Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

    Nicodemus you can say is a believer as some in the charismatic faith movement are. They are sign and miracle seekers. Nicodemus believed Jesus was from God but he believed because of Jesus’ works.

    Notice he says Jesus as from God, not Jesus is God. He simply believed Jesus was from God. That is not the same as believing in Jesus as Lord and God. That kind of faith cannot save, therefore we see that miracles cannot lead to saving faith nor do they increase faith in who already believed in the right way.

    Let’s take a look at what Jesus answers him and how the rest of the dialogue goes.

    John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

    Jesus basically answers Nicodemus telling him that a person has to be born from above in order to even see and enter into the Kingdom of God, in order to be saved a person needs to be born again from water and the Spirit. This passage is very, very rich and it would take a long time to do an expository teaching on this.

    Basically we can say that both being born of the word and the Spirit indicate that a person needs to be born again from the word of God and the Spirit. In Scripture God’s word and water as well as the Holy Spirit and water are interchangeable words. The word of God and God’s Spirit both are symbolized by the element of water.

    There are many passages that describe the Spirit as water however, since Jesus is already mentioning the Spirt as the Spirit let’s look only at the passages that describe the word of God as water.

    Also let’s remember that to be born again we must believe right? How does faith come?

    Faith is not something that a person just is able to conjure up or to just operate at will.

    Faith comes by hearing the Gospel:

    Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Let’s now look if the word of God in regard to the symbolism it has about water in the Bible:

    Ephesians 5:25-26 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

    Look at this passage even though it does not directly mention water it’s also a very important reference as to what gives us new birth which is what Jesus is talking about in John 3:

    James 1:18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

    The same says Peter:

    1 Peter 1:22-23 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

    In God’s word is Jesus, John 1:1-14. Look at what God’s word says about this:

    John 1:3-4 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
    4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    Even science teaches us that water, the natural element of water is essential to life, there cannot be life without water. Our physical bodies are 70% water. One can survive many days without solid food and yet only a few days without water. Water is essential for life to exist.

    This is the allusion of Jesus to water is that without God’s word a person cannot live spiritually, both the Spirit of God and the word of God are necessary to have spiritual life, they are elements that go together and that cannot be separated.

    The next pasage is actually the passage that brings it home look at what Jesus says here:

    John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    The word of God is Spirit and life! Exactly, so since we see that Jesus has already named being born of the Spirit in John 3 yet He then mentions being born also of water.

    As we see Jesus and God’s word speak about life or being born of the word and since Jesus mentions water in the same context, in other words of being made alive spiritually and we can really safely and Scripturally apply the term of water to God’s word, they are basically synonymous in this case.

    We also know that Jesus cannot be talking about the water in the ritual of water baptism. Water baptism was not a Jewish requirement and He is after all talking to a Jew and a Jew as Nicodemus should have known to what Jesus was referring to when He said to him:

    John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

    Jesus was referring to the Old Testament Scripture we find in:

    Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

    As we see this is the prophetic description of Israel’s spiritual new birth but it’s also the description of the new birth of every person who believes in Jesus, in fact even Israel to be born again will have to believe in Messiah Jesus.

    We see then that it all matches up, in order to be born again as Jesus says and Scripture also confirms can occur only by two specific ways by faith in Jesus Christ through the preaching of the Gospel and by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. The word of God and the Holy Spirit are the ones that work salvation together into the life of the elect to salvation through faith.

    So by Scriptural examination and a process of elimination we understand that the word of God is the water that Jesus is talking about because the word of God is the only other thing besides the Holy Spirit that generate faith and salvation in the life of the elect.

    In fact even thought the element we are so used to see as essential to a person’s salvation is faith and it is, Jesus when talking to Nicodemus claims that what is essential for salvation is being born again and what makes that happen is God’s Spirit and as we have seen, God’s word. It is not until further in to the dialogue Jesus is having with Nicodemus that He mentions faith. That happens in:

    John 3:15-18 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Clearly Jesus speaks with God’s knowledge and being God’s word the Logos He clearly makes the perfect point regarding a person’s salvation. The chronological order with which Jesus expounds how salvation occurs is also very important.

    According to Jesus a person must be born again and a person becomes born again by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the word of God, in other words the Gospel, by whose power and operation a person receives faith because the word of God and the life of the Spirit give faith to believe God’s word.

    This concept is clearly evident in Scripture. Here are some passages that prove this to be such.

    Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

    John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

    1 Corinthians 1:18-24 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

    As we see in these above passages we find exactly the entire explanation of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus. We find that it’s the Holy Spirit that gives life and brings a person to regeneration this occurs through the preaching and hearing of God’s word which also operates together with the Holy Spirit, in fact as Jesus says, the words He speaks are spirit and life.

    When the word of God is spoken it has the power to give life, eternal life, all this brings the elect to faith, better yet, it gives them the ability to believe. In other words it allows to have faith in Jesus but only through the preached message of the Gospel.

    Faith is therefore a God given gift to believe in Jesus for salvation but it is also what we need in order to believe God, know Him and do His will. Acts 13:48

    So after we have seen all this regarding what faith is and where it comes from and who has it and mostly, and this is what we are really saying here, that faith is believing God and His word, His promises and even more who and how God is according to how He reveals to be in His word.

    So once again we must reiterate that faith is something that someone has or does not have and it’s a God given gift given to the elect. Faith is part of God’s grace that helps man to become capable to believe God. Faith is given at salvation as man is regenerated and made spiritually alive, however faith can be obfuscated or better rendered dull or eclipsed by a person’s carnality. As we have seen we need faith to believe God and His word but if carnal desires and false doctrines are predominant in the life of a believer then it becomes all the more difficult to believe and obey God’s word.

    Many in churches believe for example, as we already said, in elevating to the same level of God’s word, spiritual experiences which in most cases are nothing but mystical experiences of deceived people.

    God’s word instead is either believed for what it is or it is not, spiritual experiences, mystical experiences, ascetic practices do nothing to make a person believe God’s word more or less.
    God’s word has to be taken at face value and believed as such as it is, the word of God.

    This subject is really essential to what we are talking about here, in other words renewing our minds by the word of God. Let’s remember that the only way we can be transformed and not be conformed to the ways of the world is only by renewing our minds, by achieving the mind of Christ and begin to think in conformity to how God thinks.

    So without faith or with a faulty faith how does a person renew their mind?

    When people are being taught false doctrines how can they renew their mind?

    If they don’t spend time reading and studying God’s word with humility rather than with spiritual pride how will they renew their mind?

    The answer is, they can’t!

    Many people cannot ever arrive to the knowledge of the truth, some can never change their minds and get to think like God because they really do not have faith at all. In other words there are a lot of people sitting in churches who are not born again.

    That is why it’s important to see that the very first important issue is being born again. It’s the most important thing, it’s the starting place. As we have seen the natural man, in other words the unsaved person can never think like God, cannot understand God and cannot ever submit and obey God, nor will he ever, ever accept His will or know it. See 1 Corinthians 2:14 and Romans 8:5-10.

    We can therefore explain the amount of Biblical ignorance, lack of faith, disobedience, conforming to the ways of the world we see in the church by understanding this very issue.

    Many in churches are not born again and cannot see the Kingdom of God. Seeing the Kingdom of God really means understanding it and seeing it spiritually.

    The other issue that professing believers have, is this one, often having a difficult time truly renewing their minds because they are taught false doctrines. This is the second most dangerous issue in churches. So imagine this, a church of let’s say 200 people where some kind of false doctrines and false gospels are being taught, how many people in this church do you think are renewing their mind?

    Not many! If there are some people who are seriously renewing their minds they are doing it on their own and they will eventually leave that church, most likely after confronting the leadership who will definitely try to justify the false doctrines they teach. After that the leadership will begin the process of alienation of those same people if and when they will not bend and comply with the false doctrines that are being taught there.

    All this will in the end, cause a church to be filled with unsaved people and with carnal Christians who believe false doctrines and worship a faulty image of God. You can rest assured that you will find religion practiced there but no true lasting transformation and no renewal of the mind. This is actually what we end up finding in many, many churches today a lot of religiosity but very little new births and few mind renewals.

    This is also due to the leadership that is exactly like the attendees and secondly they do not execute their ministry properly because they prefer to favor men rather than God.

    Look at what the call of the pastor is:

    2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

    As we see in these passages the elders/pastors of the church are charged, by the apostolic authority conferred by God and recorded for us today in the word of God, to preach the word when it is popular and when it is not. When it’s a hard word or an encouraging word. Whether people accept it or not and not to bend the message to make it more acceptable.

    The elder and pastor is called to reprove. The Webster dictionary definition of reprove is the following: to criticize or correct (someone) usually in a gentle way this is the definition in the original Greek:
    to confute and admonish

    As we see this task that God’s word gives to the pastors/elders today is very unpopular in the church both among the leaders and also the believers. Many in churches today say this type of thing is unloving. As we see God thinks differently and there you have it, this is the perfect case where the church needs renewal of the mind in order to be transformed.

    Then Paul says that a pastor/elder has to rebuke.

    The Webster dictionary simple definition is this one: to speak in an angry and critical way to (someone) and to criticize sharply.

    As we see while reprove and rebuke are actually similar in scope they are actually different not so much in the content rather than in the way they are practiced. Usually a person gets reproved several times for something before they actually get rebuked or rebuke is reserved for very serious issues.

    Now this practice is definitely one that is almost completely gone in the pastor/elder’s vocabulary and something which in most churches is never ever done. Why? When someone does this then in most cases they are considered unloving, rude and judgmental. Rebuking people, they think, may offend people and they will become discouraged and leave the church. In a lot of cases rebukes translate in persons leaving the church which cause a loss of money in the offertory, that is why a lot of pastors do not rebuke. Yet they fail to understand that most likely if the persons they rebuke leave the church because of it, most likely they are not even giving money to the church. Yet not rebuking when necessary is considered pleasing man and disobeying God.

    Once again, we see the difference between what God says a pastor/elder should do and what they actually do or in this case don’t do.

    God also says a pastor/elder is to exhort. The meaning of exhort is the following:

    to try to influence (someone) by words or advice : to strongly urge (someone) to do something, to incite by argument or advice: urge strongly, to give warnings or advice, make urgent appeals.

    As we see here although this is something that may be done at times in today’s churches but yet not enough and even the definition of this task is a strong one.

    Paul also says to do all this with long suffering. This word really means to have long lasting and persevering patience. As we can see this is a very important word because it indicates that the call to practice these things is not going to be readily accepted and often will be fought against. It means that it is hard work and unpopular work and that many will reject and ignore.

    Paul also says to do all this with doctrine.

    Here is another word, doctrine that has become a bad word and almost completely rejected and criticized and is very unpopular in the churches today.

    Doctrine is teaching and instruction. Wow! How much is this disliked today in many churches. Doctrine they say is considered divisive and even boring.

    Wow! How can a born again believer think that the teaching of the word of God can be boring?

    I will tell you how, first of all as I stated before, if a person is not born again at all of course they will think it’s boring they cannot understand it, it is actually folly to them, see 1 Corinthians 2:14.

    The other reason that it is considered divisive and boring is because it actually does divide, it divides the truth from the lies and the errors. It divides flesh from spirit, therefore the carnal minded Christian who is also most likely under false teaching and false doctrine rejects sound doctrine because it cuts into his or her carnality and it shatters the false notions and the false image of God they have created in their minds.

    Therefore they don’t like that. In addition they consider it boring because they really don’t care much about learning who God is and how He is and what He truly desires for us. The study of the word of God becomes boring to them because they actually feel that they need very little of it an much more of the world’s pleasures. In other words the world’s pleasures are more enjoyable and important than the word of God in their life.

    Look at some words of a man, David, who had many riches as King of Israel and yet considered God’s word the most precious thing in His life even above his wealth.

    Psalms 119:14-18 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. 16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. 17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

    Psalms 119:72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

    Psalms 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

    Psalms 119:127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

    Psalms 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

    Psalms 119:143 Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

    So as we see this is the real attitude of a person who loves God and cherishes His word and His will.

    This is what Jesus said about it:

    Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

    God’s word should be our life, should be more important than our physical food yet many Christians are overweight and obese because they love food so much but they are spiritually anorexic because they do not nourish themselves with the study of God’s word.

    This is actually confirmed to be true by Paul in the following verses when he states this:

    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    Paul prophesies that a time will come, that is the time in which we live now, when people will not endure sound doctrine.

    The meaning of endure is this: to continue to exist in the same state or condition
    to experience for a long time, to deal with or accept (something usually unpleasant).

    Let me say this, sound doctrine is hardly endured by carnal Christians because it needs to be dealt with and accepted as God’s thought and God’s mind and the carnal mind refuses the true and sound doctrine of God’s word and of His will because the mind is not renewed and it rejects it because it is truly unpleasant to their flesh, this because it is contrary to the flesh.

    As we see in the second part of Romans 12:2 it says that when a mind is renewed and a person transformed it actually ends up knowing and accepting God’s will as perfect, good and acceptable.

    Carnal Christians and not born again people will reject reproof, rebuke and exhortation and sound doctrine and they will embrace teachers that will actually teach them fables and stories, they will teach them psychology and they will justify their sinfulness and will depict God as an all tolerant grandfather figure, a jolly Santa Claus type who will reward even bad boys and girls because he loves them all and is not concerned with the fact that they live in sin or in a manner inconsistent with, again, sound godly and apostolic doctrine.

    They will therefore heap around themselves teachers that feed their flesh and not their spirit, they will prefer teachers who will not ever tell them about their sins, they want teachers who teach them another Gospel which does not call for self denial and suffering but they will seek a Gospel that teaches comfort and prosperity without sacrifice and holiness.

    Mostly they seek teachers who never ever speak about sin and renouncing sinfulness. People want churches and their leaders that actually are compromising with the world and its ways, but remember the word of God already told us before not to be conformed to the ways of the world.

    This is where we mostly are today in the churches!

    This is the reason why many in churches don’t know God, they have no clue as to what His will is, and why they only want fluffy, candy sugar coated messages which justify their carnal behavior and or on the other extreme they want religious and legalistic salvation by works based teachings which also feeds their ego and pride while denying the true image of God and denying His grace and ultimately His sovereignty in salvation. Man loves to be religious and loves to want to have to do something to feel like he deserves salvation. That’s human spiritual pride.

    What Paul also says in the next passage about himself is extremely important about the subject we are looking into:

    Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

    1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

    Look at what Paul is saying here, very important, he did not care at all about pleasing men but pleasing God, because God tries our hearts, He knows for what reason ministers minister, God weighs the motivations of the heart. Paul also says that he was not politically correct, or in this case religiously correct but just preached the straight word of God without concern that it may offend someone. After all that is exactly how Jesus was. In addition Paul says he did not minister in order to make a profit. Paul did not seek the glory of man, he was not interested of getting the accolades of men or to be popular or liked. This is how a pastor/elder should be.

    Yet this is another thing that church pastors and elders in churches do not understand very well. Paul didn’t care to ever to please men, rather he was only interested in pleasing God and the two are always in opposition and conflict.

    Today the worldly church leaders are called the seeker friendly leaders. The seeker friendly church is a contradiction really because first of all, no one actually seeks after God, Romans 3:11 and in addition that is exactly what we are talking about here, the church is not to be friends with the world,
    Romans 12:2; James 4:4-10.

    The seeker friendly movement is nothing but a movement that uses pragmatism, marketing techniques and entertainment in order to attract people to God instead of the power of God through the preaching of the Gospel. By the way, pragmatism in laymen terms is a worldly philosophy where the end always justifies any mean.

    The reason therefore that pastors and elders do not obey their God given charges as are given in
    2 Timothy 4 is also because they seek to want to please men instead of God.

    We have seen even by some of the passages we already read that the pastor/elder should not be interested at all in pleasing men.

    Pleasing men instead of God is something God does not like at all, in fact it’s sinful rebellion. King Saul got in very serious trouble with God because he feared man more than God and because he wanted to please man instead of obeying God.

    God commanded Saul to go and completely destroy the Amalekites 1 Samuel 15:1-3.

    Yet Saul did not obey God completely and by the way partial obedience is disobedience period,
    1 Samuel 15:4-9.

    Samuel the prophet confronts him and this is what Saul answers him and this is the result of the dialogue:

    1 Samuel 15:21-24 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. 22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. 24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

    You see in verse 24 Saul actually confesses his true sin, he disobeyed God because he feared the people and obeyed their voice instead of God’s commandment.

    This my friends is exactly the sin that many church leaders commit. They transgress the Lord’s commandments, His word, because they fear the people and obey them and their carnal desires rather than God and obey His word. The fear of man is a trap and a snare, that is what God Himself says:

    Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

    God exhorts us and commands us to fear only Him and no one else,

    Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

    The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear:

    2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

    Now I know it seems that we have been on many rabbit trails in this study so far but not really. We actually had to tackle all these issues because they are paramount, essential to understand all the obstacles and challenges we have to face in the process of the renewal of our minds.

    These reasons are also why we need to choose carefully what churches we attend. Although the decision of choosing the right church is not an easy one for most and many times it becomes a process that in certain cases takes even years.

    This is also another reason why people’s spiritual growth usually is a very slow or stunted process.

    A lot of people in churches, as we said before, do not even become born again and therefore find themselves at home in any church that does not seriously deal with sinfulness and the true image of God and does not teach sound doctrine.

    Unsaved people prefer to be in non threatening churches, churches that do not confront them with the truth or where another version of the Gospel is preached, the version that never saves anyone.

    As we said even true born again Christians can get comfortable in those types of churches as these churches feed the flesh rather than the spirit and we are also are without exception, vulnerable to our fleshly desires. This is why we need to guard our hearts carefully.

    Therefore, as we said before, between false doctrines and worldly churches the born again Christian struggles to grow and to renew his mind. In addition we have the pull and push of the world and all this makes believers complacent and comfortable even in their own personal time, the time they would have and should spend after church activities in which they should be studying God’s word but do not spend any important amount of that time at all studying God’s word on their own.

    Here we are now to the real deal! When a person desires to know God and desires His word in their life they will begin to dig into God’s word and when they humbly seek to know His word the Holy Spirit will begin to break through the errors and the lies and teach the truth.

    This is why the very first essential thing a believer must do is begin to read the word of God from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation. By the way if you are not doing it it is essential that you start and that without worrying of whether or not you will understand it all.

    Many pastors/elders in the mainstream churches instead of encouraging believers to do this they actually discourage them because they claim that, especially when a believer is a new believer, they cannot understand the more difficult parts of the word and that could and will cause confusion in the believer’s understanding.

    They could not be further from the truth. This is in fact the only way people will be challenged to dig into God’s word. If a person is not challenged in anything they will always float around in mediocrity.

    People cannot grow in any sphere of life if they are not challenged.

    Look at physical exercise for example, the basics have to be mastered first, yes that is true, but in fact simply reading God’s word is basics. If we don’t begin to discipline ourselves with reading regularly and systematically God’s word then all other things will not fall into the right place.

    By the way, what are the pastor/elders there to do anyway? Teach right? Perhaps, they are too busy doing many other things, things that they should not even be involved in, and then don’t take the time to teach and answer questions a believer may encounter in reading or studying the word of God.

    I will give you a quick example of this and this is why I believe mega churches are actually detrimental to the believer’s spiritual growth. We know a church and its pastor is involved in running a Television ministry and also in addition to the church now he began involved in some kind of business on the side which requires a lot of his time.

    Now, the justification for this new enterprise is that it will employ downcast people and help them to be reintroduced into the work force and also to the Gospel. I know this sounds and perhaps is a very good thing and a noble thing, yet a senior pastor of a large church should solely be concerned with the life of the sheep of God, that is why pastors are called pastors. How in the world does he or can he find valuable time to be shepherd the flock of God? He cannot ever do it the way he should do it.

    Certainly he can delegate and pass the baton to other elders yet how is he in charge of God’s sheep if he indeed has that responsibility and shuns it? How does he act as an overseer in an effective way? How will he have the time to counsel and teach the flock in an effective way? He cannot!

    Therefore the people suffer and they persist in a very slow or non existent growth and mind renewal. Mega churches are not the way God designed the church to be and to function.

    In megachurches the shepherds cannot know the actual spiritual condition of all the people that attend their church and that is lacking accountability before God of the flock He has entrusted them with.

    Yet Proverbs warns in the same sense of an actual shepherd which we can apply to the shepherd in the church as well when God’s word says:

    Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

    So even in the church, in a spiritual way a pastor or shepherd has to be diligent, careful and dedicated to know the condition of the flock and to be aware of the condition of the people who attend the church.

    This is a great responsibility God gives to pastors/elders in the church, instead as we see they forfeit their God given responsibilities by shunning God’s commandments. Usually this happens because they sell out to money rather than lovingly caring for the spiritual well being of God’s people.

    So the other reason why believers suffer immensely to grow spiritually and to know God and to renew their mind is because the churches are too big and they are run like companies rather than a family, which they instead should be.

    How would you feel if you seek counsel or have questions for the pastor of your church and because he is too buy he always makes you go to others in the church to get the help you need?

    What kind of shepherd is this? Perhaps these are instead hirelings that the Bible actually condemns and judges negatively because in the end they run the church as a business and in the end it becomes a money making factory rather than a body or a flock of which the pastor is responsible in a spiritual sense.

    The word of God gives us many references of what the responsibilities of a pastor really are in the church and yet many become CEO’s of a corporation rather than shepherds of the flock of God.

    These are just a few references in the New Testament as to what the pastor’s responsibilities are in the church and the word of God actually warns a pastor or elder not to be someone who is given to making money or seeking worldly wealth rather than spiritual wealth.

    The first reference is very, very important and it describes exactly what leaders in churches are to be busy doing:

    Acts 6:1-4 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

    The church leaders are to give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.

    Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep and take care of them, John 21:15-17.

    Paul’s call to Timothy as leader in the Ephesian church and to all pastors and elders is very clear, we already saw the call in 2 Timothy 4:2-5.

    However there is more:

    1 Timothy 4:12-16 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    Pretty clear call for a pastor right? I don’t see here where there is any room for side businesses or ministries here. In fact there is a warning as to give oneself fully to these things which would leave very little time for anything else.

    1 Timothy 6:3-13 warns about several things a pastor or elder or deacon in the church should do and not do and one of the things is not to seek to make money and it actually does not even justifies to spend time raising money even for good reasons rather to trust God instead.

    A couple of the requisites to be pastor and elder and even deacons are these:

    1 Timothy 3:2-3 apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous.

    The pastor or elder’s only requirement that is different from character requirements is to be able to teach. Pastors and elders are the teachers of the church and secondly money is a thing that should never be an object in the pastor or elder’s life, ever.

    The deacon on the other hand is a man called to be a worker in the church and the difference from pastors and elders is the one of teaching, a deacon has to have the same character as pastors or elders but is not required to be a teacher but even they are not to be involved with money issues.

    1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

    We needed to say all this because many leaders of today’s churches are not doing what they are called to do by the word of God and this hurts the flock of God especially in the process of the renewal of the mind and in the process of healthy spiritual growth and maturity.

    Anyway, the process of renewing one’s mind must begin with simply reading God’s word in its entirety.

    Let me give you a very simple and basic example, often people have a very difficult time to find where certain Bible books are when they are asked to find a certain reference. Why does this happen to people even after years of being believers?

    It happens because they do not read the Bible from cover to cover. Instead they are encouraged, by the pastors, to short circuit the process for example, by buying tabs to put in the Bible to make the finding of the books easy or today to use technological devices to find references. Once again this a shortcut. Shortcuts are not really good! Shortcuts in reality add to the difficulty of growing and in renewing one’s mind because they do not allow a person to stretch out of their comfort zone and to challenge themselves in growing properly.

    Making every thing easy is not necessarily good. This is also a reason why past Christian generations were stronger and better than today’s generation. Even in church it was so, when a person had to learn with harder and more difficult ways and methods and had to exert a lot of effort into reading and studying God’s word but it certainly made believers grow spiritually and their minds were renewed better and actually more quickly.

    Now a day what we want is everything made easier for us but everything made easier actually makes growing spiritually and renewing the mind much slower if not at even impossible. So as we see the enemy of our souls is able to use today’s world philosophy of making everything easier to actually cause a detriment in the believer’s growth and the renewal of their minds.

    As a pastor I cannot really prohibit the church God has placed under my supervision the use of software and computers to search Bible references, sometimes I also have to use it during teachings but only to speed up the time, although I know where the Bible books are regardless. However, I will always discourage the use of technology rather preferring that the actual physical book of the Bible be used instead, especially until a person knows exactly where all the Bible books are.
    The memorization of the order of Bible books’ location can really only be achieved by regular and disciplined systematic cover to cover Bible reading. Aside of having a photographic memory there is no other way. This is only one small example.

    In the church we really need to go back to the old school of doing things because it just works better.

    Even in the word of God, God tells His people this very thing:

    Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

    As we see God is always trying to bring His people back to the old paths where the good way is. Usually, in fact always, there is nothing good in the new ways, the innovative ways that try to change God’s methodology. How can one think that they can improve on God’s ways?

    If God told us to do things in a certain way then that is the way we should do it and not try to find better ways. There are no better ways than God’s ways.

    Secondly the basics of studying God’s word have to be taught and instilled in believers. However this is not usually done today in churches. Another reason is because many pastors and elders whose God given task is teaching God’s word are not actually qualified themselves to teach or they just plainly don’t do it.

    In the end this is what the passage we just read told us, God calls us to return to the old paths, where the right way is but they then, like many today do not want to do so!

    They want to do as they please and that is rebellion and disobedience and a real insult to God because they believe that they can in fact find better methods than those of God and also that they insinuate to know more than Him while using world strategies and then believing that God would bless them anyway. This is absurd! God will never bless these things, in fact, God says this:

    Isaiah 30:1-3 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: 2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! 3 Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.

    Isaiah 31:1-3 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD! 2 Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity. 3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.

    These are key passages that should absolutely discourage everyone from looking to the ways of the world and world strategies rather than the ways of God and trusting His word. These passages show us how much God is displeased when we do this.
    Unfortunately, many pastors and elders and even believers do exactly what is described in these passages, that is, they do not look to and do not obey the word of God. These use worldly strategies to attract people to the church and not only that, but they use the same to keep the people in the church to keep them interested. What a sad thing when the churches have to use the world’s entertainment to keep people’s interest to get them to come back to church Sunday after Sunday. This however, as we have said, is a byproduct of people who are at the very least carnal and at the worse not born again, so the pure and true word of God is not at all interesting to them but the things of the world are.

    However, let’s say that there is a big difference between giving an exhortation or an encouraging message and actually teaching doctrine and usually between the two doctrine is the one which suffers loss out of the two.

    When we go to most churches today the message in most cases is 20 minutes or less, in certain exceptions maybe 30 minutes, but it’s not doctrine being taught rather a brief message of encouragement or exhortation. In this way though a person never grows nor is their mind truly ever renewed.

    People in churches also hear messages filled with wrong doctrines and faulty theology and do not even know it. There are elders who get exposed to this every Sunday and yet even they cannot discern the errors of what is being taught from their pulpits. Why does this happen? It should never happen but it does and it happens too often!

    I have been in places like that, where I heard faulty and erroneous doctrine and theology and brought it to the elders attention and they did not even realize it was taught or preached and yet they were there also. How could they not detect errors in a teaching? How can this happen?

    They can’t because they themselves don’t know sound doctrine, it’s obvious. Yet they should be able to teach according to what God’s word requires of them, but they cannot even recognize the errors in other people’s teachings. Should they even be elders if they cannot discern errors in doctrine? I say no!

    They should not be elders or pastors because pastors or elders are supposed to be the guardians of sound doctrine, so if they cannot discern doctrinal errors and if they cannot teach true sound doctrine they cannot be in charge of protecting the flock from false teachings, therefore, they should not be appointed as elders at all.

    Look at what Ephesians 4:11-16 says:

    And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    Now I would like you to focus on a few things in this passage that are very pertinent to what we are talking about in our study.

    First of all let’s look at the language used in this passage regarding what we may be used to hear about the so called five fold ministry of the church. Many teach that there are five office ministries God gave to the church, in other words Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Now let’s reason about this passage and also look at what the Bible teaches regarding all this.

    First of all in reality there seem to be four ministries in the church not five. Apostles and prophets, are two, these were the foundation of the church, see Ephesians 2:20-22, they wrote the Spirit inspired doctrines for the church and began the process of building the church from all ethnic groups, then we find the evangelists, this is the third office, these are the ones that preach the Gospel outside of the church (sometimes even inside the church) in order to call the elect to salvation through the preaching of the Gospel once the elect respond and are saved the pastors/teachers, seem to indicate one office and not two, they counsel and teach the elect the doctrines of the church and of Christ turning them into disciples of Jesus Christ. These are their duties. Why do many say there are five ministries and I say there are four?

    The Bible seems to confirm what I am saying. Let’s look first at the language used in this very passage. The language says that some are Apostles, then it says some are prophets,then it says some are evangelists then it says some are pastors and teachers.

    About this last category Paul says some are pastors and teachers he does not say some are pastors and some are teachers. It seems like he is not really distinguishing the office of pastor from the office of teacher like he did in all the other cases.

    In addition, even if someone makes a case saying that we cannot explicitly prove that the omission of the word some between pastor and teacher can prove that he is not distinguishing between the two, we do have the rest of the word of God that actually tells us that elders are pastors and pastors are elders as the titles are used in a synonymous and interchangeable way and that they are the teachers in the church.

    1 Timothy 3:1-2 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach

    The office of bishop mentioned here is also used in a synonymous way with the office of pastor and/or elder. As we see the pastor/elder has to be able to teach so they are all teachers. There is really no distinction between elder/pastor and teacher. Many say there can be teachers in the church without being elders or pastors but this is not really confirmed anywhere in Scripture.

    For example let’s look at 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

    Here Paul says in the church God appointed first of all Apostles, second prophets, third teachers. OK so where are the pastors mentioned here? They are not! Yet in Ephesians 4 Paul mentions pastors but places them in only one office, one category, pastors and teachers and here in 1 Corinthians 12 we have the confirmation that this is true.

    Paul here mentions only teachers but not pastors. Why? This would appear to demonstrate to us that they are actually one and the same office and not two different ones. All pastors are teachers and all elders are pastors and they are all teachers. There is only one office of elder or pastor and they are the teachers in the church. I believe there are too many people teaching in churches and they are not elders and pastors and in addition they may not even be qualified to teach. It’s one thing to follow a set booklet curriculum of Bible studies and it’s another to teach expository teaching of the word of God because the Holy Spirit qualifies you to do so. Anyone can teach from a booklet teaching what is already prepared by someone else, you don’t have to be a teacher of the word to do so. Not everyone though can teach doctrine and theology and do expository teaching directly from the word of God.
    That is how the word of God should be taught in the church.

    Now let’s get back to Ephesian 4 what is the task of the pastor teacher?

    Ephesians 4:12-15 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    The elders/pastors in the church are the teachers of the church and they are there for the perfecting of the saints, in other words to help the Christian to mature and grow in the stature of Christ, they are to edify the body of Christ, this means to build up, to construct the church so that in the church we all come to the unity of the faith and the true knowledge of the Son of God, they are there to build up believers in becoming conformed to the image of Christ, which incidentally is really the same thing as not being conformed to the ways of the world but to be instead transformed by the renewing of our minds and to know God’s will.

    As we see this is what Romans 12:2 commands us to do!

    So the pastors or elders teach the believers sound doctrine so that the believers no longer remain spiritual children but grow into the image of Christ by renewing their minds and also so that believers are no longer tossed about and carried away by every wind of doctrine, false doctrines, that men in their deception and cunning craftiness try to teach in order to deceive the church.

    Instead the pastor/teacher always speaking the truth in love makes it so that believers grow up in Christ.

    As we see then that if elders are not able to teach and if elders cannot recognize false doctrines and theological errors then in reality they are not called by God to this position. They are not qualified. It means perhaps that they are called and chosen by men but not by God.

    The church has been lax and careless in ordaining elders and pastors and has ordained many unqualified men and unfortunately even women, who were and are never qualified and called by God to have such positions in the church, like women for example, see 1 Timothy 2:11-14.
    Now again you may ask what does all this have to do with us renewing our minds? Everything really, why? Because you are already renewing your mind by learning sound apostolic doctrine in these things we mentioned so far.

    Yet this is not limited to only learning these things in the proper way but the very fact is that if pastors/elders/teachers are not qualified they are unable to perform the task in the way God desires. This makes it so that the entire church where these people are leaders suffers great loss in the mind renewing process and the process of growing into the image of Christ.

    People in these churches run into serious and dangerous issues that instead of helping them renew their minds make their minds unfruitful and helps them believe erroneously because they are taught and are led to accept and learn false doctrines and to accept the wrong image of God.

    With false and erroneous doctrines a person will never renew their mind nor will they ever truly be transformed into the image of Christ. In this condition believers will never begin to think like God and develop the mind of Christ nor will they ever be able to discern spiritual truths or know the will of God.

    How does a believer for example properly discern what is truly good and what is truly evil? They do it by disciplining themselves to the proper use and practice of God’s word.

    This is confirmed by this Scripture:

    Hebrews 5:12-14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

    Great passage that describes to us the very problem of slow spiritual growth and lack of spiritual discernment. Let’s look into this first of all by reviewing the Scripture in its proper context.

    The author is writing these things to a Hebrew/Christian audience. In this audience there were some who had truly and completely embraced Messiah Jesus and understood that salvation was only by grace through faith in Him. However in their midst there were many fence sitters and many who believed that they could believe in Jesus while continuing to practice the law. Many in this audience were not born again believers and had many doubts regarding being saved by grace and faith alone. So the author of this epistle writes these things so that those who were truly born again and the leaders in this Jewish community would and could properly understand and teach others the only and true way of salvation which is in Jesus Christ alone.

    Many within this community who were not yet saved were attracted by the Gospel and yet wanted to abandon the thought of accepting it and wanted to go back to their dead Jewish religion and the law. Hence there are many warnings in this epistle, warnings that at first seem to indicate that one could lose their salvation while instead they warn those who were actually contemplating rejecting the Gospel and abandon the thought that salvation was only by grace through faith in Christ, wanted to go back to their old dead religion. This is the context of the entire letter to the Hebrews.

    In this context the author says to the Jews that because of the many, many centuries actually millennia of receiving God’s word and revelations and now even through God’s Son, Hebrews 1:1-3, they should have been teachers of God’s truth instead they were ignorant of much of the truth and they still had many doubts and things that they did not understand. Therefore they still needed that someone teach them the basic issues of God’s revelations. The author also says that they were therefore spiritual babies and not spiritually mature men as they should have been by now. They could not handle strong meat meaning that they could not really understand deep spiritual truths. They could only handle milk, meaning basic truths. As he says those who constantly seek only to drink milk are actually not skilled to handle the word of God.

    He then goes on saying that the deeper spiritual truths are for those who are spiritually mature. He then proceeds to tell us how one becomes spiritually mature or how one achieves the mind of Christ or renews their mind. We do so by being disciplined and by reason of the use of God’s word learn how to discern good and evil. The question is what does reason of use mean? The use of what? The use of the word of God, basically the study of the word of God as it is mentioned in the previous verse. By the way, a person cannot learn to properly discern good and evil the way God sees them, unless their senses and their reason are exercised by the word of God.

    Now let’s translate this into the church today, although we are not making reference to an almost entire Jewish community we can actually apply this passage to the church today. There are proper applications and parallels we can draw.

    We can say that there are people in churches that are Christians for many years and by now should know God’s word in such a way that they should be able to teach it by now. Instead they still are spiritual babes. They cannot understand the depth of the word of God but they only know it superficially or very basically. They barely know the basics of their faith even though they have been sitting in church for many years. They actually cannot handle the in depth teaching of God’s word, they cannot chew it and digest it, they only crave and want milk, they only want what is easy to understand, what is tolerant, what is not judgmental, only what is soft and comfortable and sugar coated. They also cannot ever seem to be too sure of what God truly considers good and what God considers evil. These baby believers may have been in the church for 25-30-40 years and they still have a hard time discerning between what is good and evil according to God.

    Now are these saved? Perhaps many are, but they never grew up into the full stature of Christ, they never got around to renewing their mind. Why? Because they did not discipline themselves to study God’s word and to renew their mind by having their senses exercised by the use of God’s word.

    Let me say this, in years past, let’s say 50 to 100 years ago and prior it may have been easier for believers to renew their minds in the churches they attended because expository teaching of God’s word was the norm. However, within the last 50 years this has become harder and harder to do and we have already seen some of the reasons why. The main reason? You guessed it, the lack of expository teaching and the lack of teaching sound doctrine.

    However, even over one-hundred years ago, apparently even in the Apostle’s times and after, this issue of renewing one’s mind was a difficult task to obtain perhaps because of the same main reason it is today, people do not read or study seriously the word of God. This happens because the word of God is not the most important thing in a believer’s life.

    There is another very important issue to speak about here and that is prayer. You may say now that I am all over the place with this but I am not and I will show you why.

    We think of prayer as something we do, in other words we say that when we pray we speak to God.
    Prayer is supposedly talking to God, it should be, yet the problem is that most of our prayer life if not all of it is not a dialogue with God but a monologue. We do all the talking and then we get up and walk away and get about our business.

    Let me ask, when does God get a chance to talk to us? We talk to Him, ask Him for things and then we just walk away. So we never hear from God until perhaps if and when we go to church, we say we go to hear from God. So basically we are saying that we have to talk to God and He needs to hear from us but He only gets to talk to us once a week if and when we go to church? How about all day every day? How and when do we hear from God? How does God speak to us? How and when do we know God’s will?

    Do we actually believe that the Bible is God’s word? If we really do why is it that many believers are so ready to talk to God and expect that He do things for them yet when it comes time to hear from God everybody is too busy to hear what He has to say?

    Now you will say what does this have to do with studying and reading the Bible or renewing our mind? Everything! God will only speak to us through and by His word. So if we do not read or even better study and meditate on God’s word, how will we ever know what He is telling us, how He is directing us, how do we know what His will is? It will be impossible. We have talked about this before it’s not that we need to actually hear an audible voice from heaven but we need to know and understand His word. It’s the only way we will hear from God.

    So the problem with not being regularly in God’s word is not only that we will not renew our mind not only that we will not be transformed, not only will we not really know who and how God is, but we will not even hear from Him and we will never know what His good, perfect and acceptable will truly is.

    Now that is what verse two of Romans twelve says to us, we will know by experience what God’s good, perfect and acceptable will is only if we renew our minds and this occurs only through and by God’s word. What we see then is that both, renewing our minds and knowing God’s will is related to achieving these results only through and by the word of God.

    How important is God’s word to us? In the lives of many believers today and in many churches the word of God is of secondary importance. In many churches and for many believers doctrine is a bad thing and they steer clear from it like if it was the plague.

    Wow, knowing God, knowing His will and knowing what His mind and His thoughts are and knowing what He says to us for many today is to be avoided at all costs.

    They complain that doctrine is divisive and it is not loving. Really?

    So let me understand this correctly, knowing God, His will, His mind and His thoughts and knowing what He is saying to us is actually divisive and not loving?

    We read before in Ephesians 4 that we are to speak the truth in love. This means that God’s truth is loving, this means that the word of God is truth, Jesus confirms this when He says in:

    John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    We see here key things in this very short verse, it is God’s word which sanctifies us and God’s word is truth, all of it.

    Therefore to think that God’s word is unloving is to actually believe that God is unloving.
    Yes, doctrine when it is sound it does divide, it actually divides truth from error. This process is not unloving, it’s anything but unloving, it’s very much loving because as we have seen the truth sanctifies us, the truth sets us free from sin and errors John 8:32.

    Look at what Hebrews 4:12 says: Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    This is what God’s word does it divides. First the word of God is living, quick means living and energetic, it has power as the passage states, it produces the effect it wants to. The word two edged is a great example of the type of swords used in those days, double edged, designed to cut through with greater power and ease and have a greater kill rate.

    The Greek word two edged here also denotes another very interesting detail, it also means double mouthed. Interesting term which allows us to understand that God’s word actually has a speech that brings about two different results. What does this mean? It means that the word of God performs two tasks, it speaks and gives life to some and death to others, it wounds but it also heals, it softens or it hardens.

    There is a passage that shows this effect very well:

    2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
    17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

    The passage in Hebrews 4 also tells us that the word of God penetrates to divide the human psyche and the spirit. Very, very important passage here because this actually is saying to us what Romans 12:2 says regarding the renewal of the mind.

    The mind is the psyche and is the part of us and what we know as the soul of man, this is our consciousness and our subconscious. There it is, the soul and the spirit, and these are not the same thing. This concept seems controversial for some while it is instead made very clear for example in:

    1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    It is not difficult to realize then that the functions of our body are the ones that allow us to interact with what is physical through our five senses.

    The function of our spirit instead is the one with which we can receive God and connect with God and begin to understand His word. Once we receive the Lord in our spirit when we are converted, we can live our lives in constant contact with God through our spirit and His word.

    Our soul instead is who we are, our mind, our emotions and our will.

    The function of our soul is to express God in our life and that is to understand and obey God.

    Luke 1:46 says: And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God.

    To magnify something means to make something bigger or to express it in a greater way for everyone to notice. First of all, the expression of of Mary’s soul is due to the work of her spirit. Praising God is born in the spirit and is expressed by and through the soul. Mary’s spirit filled with joy in the Lord (Joy is the fruit of the Spirit of God) is expressed by the manifestation of her soul that magnifies the Lord.

    She lived and acted in the spirit that directed the expression of her soul. Here we begin to see that the functions of the spirit and the soul are related but different. Mary magnifies the Lord in her soul, but she enjoyed it before and experienced the presence of God in her spirit. We could never express God starting only from the soul. We can try to copy God’s presence in us by trying to be good and godly but this is to be free from genuinely expressing God in our lives. The expression of God in us must originate in our spirit and God is the originator and our soul is the channel or vehicle with which we express God.

    But to express God through our souls we must know God as He really is. Knowing God as He is can only happen through our spirit and then it is translated by our soul (psyche, mind), which then expresses God in our lives in a correct way and not in a false and erroneous way.

    Knowing the thoughts and the will of God must start from the spirit but the soul, the psyche, the mind is actively involved in this process and if this human part is not renewed by the word of God it will not be able to fully express God in the right way.

    Only the word of God can renew the mind and the spirit must be alive and in touch with God in order for this to happen, that’s why we find this written in:

    Romans 8:5-9 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 In fact, to be carnally minded is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 Therefore the mind controlled by the flesh is hostile to God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. 8 So those who are in the flesh can not please God. 9 But if the Spirit of God dwells in you, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him.

    From the passage of Hebrews 4 it is then understood that the spirit and the soul are so interconnected that both need the word of God to divide them and separate them. This is because our psiche, in other words our mind has been previously programmed by our sinful nature and by the philosophies of the world and therefore it must be renewed in order to become conformed to the mind of God.

    The word of God is that which is able to divide the thoughts and separate the human from the spiritual. We can only know the spiritual by knowing God as He reveals Himself to be in His word and only by the correct knowledge of the word of God.

    As you see we are thus able to connect this concept to the renewal of the mind by the word of God, the word of God helps us distinguish between human thoughts and spiritual ones.

    Without this task of God’s word, we would not be able to divide or change our thoughts in the right way.

    So the bottom line is this, God is the One who renews our mind but He only does it through and by His word and not in any other way. If we do not read, study and meditate God’s word, which yes is understood only through the active presence of God’s Spirit in ours, nevertheless it cannot be properly translated into Godly behavior and understanding of our mind unless the mind is actually renewed by the word itself.

    Then the author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that God’s word is what discerns our thoughts making them clear to us as to what is their nature.

    The mind is the psyche, the soul of man, this is our consciousness and our subconscious as well. The word of God is that which is able to divide the thoughts and separate the human from the spiritual.

    As we see we can link this to the renewal of the mind by the word of God as it distinguishes between human thoughts and spiritual ones. Without this task of the word of God we would not be able to divide our thoughts in the right way.

    The power of truth is “suited” to lay open the secret feelings of the soul. There is not an effect produced in awakening a sinner; or in his conviction, conversion, and sanctification, which the truth does not produce. The truth of God is not dead letter; nor suited to make people “worse;” nor designed merely to show their own “weakness,” and to be a mere occasion on which the Holy Spirit acts on the mind; it is in its own nature fitted to produce the effects which are produced when it awakens, convicts, converts, and sanctifies the soul.

    The truth should be preached, taught and studied with the knowledge that it is given to us for this end. When taught and studied therefore we should endeavor to understand the nature of the mind and of the moral feelings, really as those who could inflict a deadly wound should endeavor to understand enough about anatomy to know where the heart is, or as he who administers medicine should endeavor to know what is adapted to remove certain diseases.

    So as we see truth is sound doctrine and sound doctrine is truth and God’s truth is always loving. Again, to claim that doctrine is unloving is really a bad thing to think and believe, it is the loving truth of God and we all need it. Those who despise doctrine and ignore it are not spiritually mature at the very least. At most they are either false teachers that have a real abhorrence to God’s truth or they have been taught and have believed false doctrines and teach them simply out of ignorance, nevertheless they are still false teachers and they still damage other believers and therefore people’s minds are not renewed nor is God known.

    Loving God is not by itself what is needed to grow and mature and know Him as He is.

    Loving God actually is demonstrated in many ways and one specific way is by loving Him through loving, observing, studying and meditating upon His word. A simply emotional love for God is great and it is also necessary but true demonstration of love toward God is obeying Him and observing His word.

    Obeying God is not legalism it’s love demonstrated in action. This is evidenced by Jesus and by the Apostles as well.

    John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.

    John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

    1 John 5:1-3 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    Very well, now that we tackled these issues that often are issues that cause believers to falter in the task of placing importance on the word of God alone for their transformation and their mind renewal, we can now look at other ways how we can be transformed by renewing our minds.

    We have seen that not being conformed to the ways of the world and being transformed in the likeness of Christ will occur if and when we renew our minds by and with the word of God. The word of God is the only way we can achieve all this.

    We did see what the ways of this world are and how negatively they affect our minds and how they program us to believe things contrary to the word of God. We have also seen that these ideologies and philosophies affect our thinking which then affects our behavior. These are all the things that proudly exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and that actually build fortresses, walls around our thinking process, in our minds.

    There is a very important passage we need to look at now that describe for us this exact issue and how we remedy this problem in our life.

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Paul says that though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh. What does this mean? How is it that we walk in the flesh when the word of God commands us not to walk in the flesh?

    Here is a very good example of how we can misunderstand God’s word when we do not study it in the proper way. If the word of God tells us not to walk in the flesh, how is it then that here Paul is actually implying that we walk in the flesh and he includes himself in the we?

    There are two meanings for the word flesh and hence the word carnal as well in the New Testament Scriptures.

    One use of the word is when it is employed to describe the sinful nature in people who are not believers, in other words those who are not born again of the Spirit.

    We find these distinctions for example in other parts of the book of Romans and we already studied them. Let’s review this concept once again because it is relative to our study.

    For example let’s start looking at Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

    This verse and the previous to it teach us that we who are born again are born again because the old man, when we were spiritually dead, was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be destroyed and so that we should no longer serve sin.

    What Paul is teaching us here is that our sinful nature which kept us slaves to sin and kept us spiritually dead and made us desire to obey our sinful desires has died with Christ and now we have new life and power to serve and obey God.

    This means we are born again of the Spirit of God and we are no longer walking in that old sinful nature which is also called the flesh.

    We see this concept better explained to us in :

    Romans 8:1-9 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

    See what Paul says in verse 9? He says we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us because if we do not have the Spirit of Christ we don’t belong to Him, meaning that when we are born again we are no longer in the flesh. This does not mean that we are no longer ever capable to act carnally and still sin but it means that it is not longer our spiritual condition and position, we are no longer dead in our sins but we are alive in Christ by His Spirit. Hence we walk in the Spirit means that we are no longer in the flesh as our status and position.

    This is one type of the use of the word flesh or carnal. It means therefore our old sinful nature which we no longer have, it has been crucified with Christ.

    Look this is exactly what Paul says in:

    Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    You see now we see in this passage the other way in which the word flesh is used. It has to be obvious that Paul in using the word flesh here is not using it in the same way that he used it in Romans 8.

    In Romans 8 it meant not being born again or still being in a carnal, natural state, see also 1 Corinthians 2:14.

    Here the word flesh means the life he or we now live in our body, which in Scripture is also synonymous with the words flesh and also members.

    So we see that the word flesh either means the natural unsaved, sinful state of a person and it also means our natural bodies made of flesh also called members.

    This is very important because for example it helps us understand better what Paul is saying in Romans 7 where he says this:

    Romans 7:18-25 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh body,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:(born again spiritual man) 23 But I see another law in my members(body), warring against the law of my mind,(spirit and soul) and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.(body) 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh (body) the law of sin.

    Now we could rephrase this entire passage like this: for I know that in my body no good thing dwells verse 18, then in verse 21 he says sin dwells in him, where? In the body or the flesh. Paul says he delights in the law of God after the inward man, he could only say this if he was already born again because in

    Romans 8:6 he says this: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

    If he were not born again his inward man would not delight in God then Paul says “but I see another law” in my body or flesh or members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members, flesh or body. As we see his mind is spiritual which indicates he is speaking as a born again man because he confirms in Romans 8:6 that the mind of the carnal, not saved, not spiritual person does not and cannot delight in God.

    Then Paul exclaims in desperation who will free him from the sinfulness that he still commits because of his body? He calls his body a body of death. Obviously he is not talking here about eternal and spiritual death but physical death. Even the born again body dies and it dies because of what reason? It dies because of sin still present in it and because it does cause us to still sin.

    We have already seen in our study of Romans 7 and 8 that it is Jesus who frees us from all sins and death even the death of the sinful body because He will give our mortal body new life in the resurrection which is what Paul is teaching us in Romans 8.

    Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    This God does even in our present life by the way. If we let the Holy Spirit lead us and we submit to Him by not walking in a carnal manner God will quicken our mortal bodies not only in the resurrection but we will be preserved by a, let’s call it, premature physical demise, see 1 Corinthians 11:30-33.

    We see that Paul already told us in the beginning of Romans 8 that if a man is in Christ they are no longer under spiritual condemnation, but for a believer to walk in a carnal way means that physical death is still a risky consequence of God’s discipline.

    Nevertheless, our bodies are the part of us that God still judges in this life because of the sin that still is in them but that God will quicken and transform at the resurrection of the body. Hence this means that even our bodies will be changed and made immortal, see 1 Corinthians 15:36-57.

    What we understand therefore is that the word of God speak of two types of flesh, the unredeemed sinful nature of man and the actual body of flesh of all humans.

    So this is the flesh and the carnal Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 10:3 and 4 it does not mean that he was inferring that believers are to walk in a carnal way such as unbelievers do. Walking in the flesh here signifies the life we live in our bodies. Paul is telling us in substance that although we have to function with our bodies in order to live in this world we are not to wage war in a human way or with human thoughts or using human means.

    In fact we should wage war in a totally opposite fashion than carnally or humanly. Paul tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God. They actually are mighty weapons that God has given us and they are spiritual weapons not human ones.

    Paul mentioned what these weapons are in Ephesians 6 and he also explained to us who we are fighting in this battle, in this war. The weapons, our opponents and our power are all not human in nature.

    Let’s take a look at what Paul is telling us in Ephesians 6.

    Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
    This passage is a key one to allow us to understand better what Paul is telling us in
    2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

    I will not get into a thorough expository teaching of every part of the armor of God in this study but you can take advantage of the teaching regarding the armor of God posted on our website.

    Nevertheless, let’s take a look at this passage and let’s see how it helps us understand better
    2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

    Paul even here tell us to be strong, he does not tell us to seek our own strength or to try to find some kind of human inner strength or positive attitude, rather he tells us to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. We can find inner strength but it’s not our own strength, it’s not human strength, it’s the power of God present in us by His presence in the person of the Holy Spirit.

    Let’s not forget He is our helper, the One who is sent to be by our side always.

    That’s why God’s word says that it is according to His power that works mightily in us by the Holy Spirit that He will work in and trough us. There are several passages that help us better understand this.

    Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

    Colossians 1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

    These passages are very interesting as they allows us to see the paradox of God working powerfully in and through us and yet Paul still is saying that it was he who was laboring and striving. It is God who works in us and through us but we are involved willingly in this process. Paul says he worked intensely and yet it was God who produced the results. I believe that we understand this as the key to see how God actually operates in us. He does so when we place ourselves in the proper mindset and attitude and actually move forward to obey Him, living by faith. When we do this God gives us the power to do according to His will and power. Therefore when we understand what we are to do and we obediently do it God will empower us to do His work and He will bring about the results.

    There is another wonderful passage that really brings issue home to us and we find it in:

    2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

    Paul is saying that we have the treasure of the Gospel, the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ in our earthen vessels, this term is another one that describes our earthly mortal bodies. It describes our bodies as vessels, containers made of clay, fragile containers, easily broken and damaged but with a power in them whose excellency of power is God’s and not ours.

    Therefore we are to find the power to be strong in God and in God only, we therefore move forward in His power and strength.

    So getting back to Ephesians 6, we are to be strong seeking God’s strength which is so readily available
    to us as it is within us but is not from us.
    All this being strong and using our will power that the world teaches us as a source of strength, cannot make us stand strong in adversity and against evil. We are to recognize instead that we are weak earthen vessels, fragile, easily breakable, in fact we could shatter into pieces under the great power of our enemy and we would if it were not for the power that is at work in us. If it were not for the power of God we could not withstand the devil and his demons and we could not overcome the world and its pull, its philosophies would be overwhelming and we would be tossed around like a ship in a storm.

    We would succumb to the constant crashing of our enemies waves, we would capitulate under the weight of his attacks. Alone we cannot withstand the power of the devil and his angels, alone we cannot withstand the magnetic pull of the world. It becomes often difficult when we have God in our lives can you imagine when God is not there? People are in full control and sway of the devil and minions. How is it that it it still is often difficult for us even with God in our life?

    Because we don’t walk by faith but we walk by sight. Because we don’t submit to God and therefore we have no power to resist the devil as we should.

    The greatest ways in which the devil entraps us Christians by the way is not usually with open temptations to sinfulness, he knows we may very well resist open sinfulness as we recognize it as such, yet we do not not always resist, but mostly we do if we recognize the imminent and obvious danger we are more apt to avoid it.

    Our enemy instead entraps us with ideologies and philosophies, he blind sides us with mind control and yes, here we are again, for the believer his strategy is false and erroneous doctrines. This is his greatest tool to deceive the believer. In addition without sound doctrine taught a believer will be vulnerable to the subtle and not so subtle ways of the world, the worldly philosophies and ideologies which unfortunately many believers embrace and believe.

    The biggest weapon the devil uses against believers is the corrupt version of the truth through which he then introduces repackaged worldly ideologies and philosophies and through which he is able to project an erroneous image of God which causes the believer to not grow and mature properly and therefore not to achieve the mind of Christ, which is what we are discussing here, the renewal of the mind.

    James tells us one of the very things that are essential to the understanding of how we have and can have victories against the devil and his philosophies.

    James 4:4-7 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    We see that many people haphazardly make claims from this passage using only the second part of verse seven. They quote the passage and say: “ resist the devil and he will flee from you”.

    However it’s impossible to resist the devil just like that. They leave out the first part of the entire passage which is actually the key to resisting the devil. You see we cannot just resist the devil without understanding first that we cannot be friends of the worldly system and its ideologies and we must humble ourselves before God and then He will give us grace, when we submit to God in faithful obedience and we begin to reason like God and agree with Him then we will not be friends with the world, then and only then we can resist the devil and then and only then he will flee from us. The devil loves when we quote Scripture and try to apply it without fully understanding it, he loves it because he knows we are not using it in the proper way and it will not stop him.

    This is why it’s so important to know God’s word properly and know true and sound doctrine, because when we know it the right way we can apply it the right way. Jesus taught us this when He was tempted of the devil in the wilderness. Satan even tried to quote Scripture to Jesus but He quoted it out of context and Jesus instead quoted every single thing He said in the right context and this way He resisted the devil and he fled from Him.

    Jesus submitted Himself to God and used the word properly to resist the devil. By the way we can only resist the devil with the sword of the Spirit, God’s word, that is what Jesus taught us in the episode of His temptation. He actually taught us in practice what James is saying.

    So the power and strength Paul tells us to stand in, is God’s mighty power and not our feeble attempts to be strong on our own.

    Then Paul says: To put on the entire armor of God to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The word wiles means: devious or cunning stratagems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one wants. The devil’s deceptions are cunning and shrewd.

    See now how we begin to understand that everything the devil does to deceive us has to do with one very specific thing, mind control and deception. The deceptions occur in the mind, the actual true battlefield where real spiritual warfare is going on is in the minds of men and women.

    The battles are in the mind mostly, our enemy tries to deceive us and he can only do this if we don’t have the mind of Christ. He can deceive anyone, we are not immune to his deceptions otherwise these Biblical instructions and warnings would be meaningless. Instead we are vulnerable to the deceptions because that is exactly what they are and they are sown in the church through the corruption of the truth of God.

    Satan can deceive the world in so many ways but his preferred method to deceive believers is to corrupt, change, modify and confuse God’s word. He has been doing this from the very beginning. When he deceived Eve that’s how he did it. He sowed doubt in her mind by questioning whether or not God had really said what He said.

    When the doubt was sown he actually deceived Eve by discrediting what God said in the way he said it and then proceeded to tell Eve that there was another meaning to what God said and that God was holding out on them. You see that’s still how he does it today, he sows doubt in the minds of believers and begins to make them question what God has said in His word, he then sows another doctrine that is more appealing to the flesh than to the spirit. He changes spiritual truths into worldly ideas and passes them on as the word of God. This is what he does today through false teachers.

    There are many people today that teach and still prophesy and twist God’s words by rendering them more appealing to the flesh of men and even that is a poisoned fruit. He mingles God’s truth with worldly ideologies, he bends and twists the truth keeping the meaning close to the original but injecting his lies.

    To the flesh of man it all sounds good, so in most cases it gets accepted as truth.

    God has given us a spiritual armor, this weaponry is what Paul is describing in the passage of
    2 Corinthians 10, when he says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, they are not human, they have supernatural strength and power from God instead.

    This is what we are getting to and the connections are astounding and so much so connected to what we are studying regarding the renewal of our mind, because if you have forgotten that is what we are looking at, how and why our mind needs to be renewed.

    So now here in Ephesians 6 we have seen so far that we must stand and resist evil in God’s power and might, then we see how we are able to tap into the power and might of God as Paul tells us we have weaponry, an armor we need to be aware of. So far as we see this explains to us what the weapons are that Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians10.

    We also understand that the battlefield or the spiritual warfare we fight is not so much outside of us as it is in our mind, the battle is for the control of our mind, our way of thinking, that is why some sayings we are used to her are actually true, such as the one that tells us that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

    This is why the devil is also called the enemy of our soul. Remember that part of our soul is our mind, in fact that is what it is.

    Our mind cannot be idle but must be busy with the things of God and busy being filled with God’s word. Remember what David said in Psalm 1?

    Psalms 1:1-2 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night

    This passage by the way is an Old Testament equivalent to Romans 12:2 as it speaks of the same thing.

    Not to be conformed to the ways of the world but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, because that is how God renews our mind, through His word when we delight in it and dwell in it and in it we meditate day and night.

    When we meditate, study, read God’s word He renews our mind if we don’t then the devil may get a foothold of our thoughts and begin corrupting our thinking.

    So now that we understand this concept, Paul tells us that our spiritual warfare is not as we imagine it usually. We do not therefore wrestle against human beings per say but our warfare is instead

    Ephesians 6:12 against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    The human agents that work the works of Satan are only his pawns, our warfare in reality is not against them as human beings but against the powers that control them. These powers and rulers and principalities and spiritual wickedness are situated in high places.

    Who are they and what are the high places Paul makes reference to here?

    The higher the spiritual position of the wicked power and principality in the spiritual realm the higher they will be in the human realm. Satan places them in positions of power in the world. Many heads of important institutions are controlled by spiritual wicked powers, rulers, and principalities.

    Shall we see how this translates in the worldly realm and then we will see how Satan controls them.

    Let’s look at principalities and powers, who could they be visibly? These are evil spirits who have a hierarchic position in Satan’s dominion but every one of them control those who are in position of power in the world.

    Rulers of any kind, beginning with religious leaders and heads of states, to every level of position of power we can see in the world, government officials at every level, heads of organizations such as and especially the education system public and private, judges, heads of big corporations and companies, heads of any type of organization that may influence and have power over people, the media and the entertainment business.

    This is where Satan positions his servants, yet we need not to see the human agent which is visible but what is invisible, those who spiritually control these people. That is what Paul is talking about here.

    Now I want you to notice I said before religious leaders, why? Because religions are not the true church the body of Christ. The head of the true and real church is Christ and not any man.

    Anyway, religious leaders are perhaps the ones who have the greatest sway over the masses, the second category is not as we may think political leaders although they do because they are the ones that control the outcome of education, media, sports and entertainment who perhaps have the greatest influence over people after religion. Let’s take the Pope for example, the reformed church actually believes that he is the Antichrist, whether he is or not however we must realize he is not from God and he and his army of cardinals, bishops and priests are deceiving perhaps billions of people through mind control.

    Let’s take the Muslim clerics from the Ayatollahs to the Imams and the Mullahs they have sway and control over billions of people and we are seeing lately what that is actually translating into.

    School superintendents, principals, deans, professors and teachers have control and sway over billions of people, they also are very dangerous as they control people’s minds from the time they are little children to the time they are young adults, how much mind bending do you think they can do and how much damage? A lot, and so on and on it goes, every one in positions of power, of authority and rule are the ones Paul is talking about.

    Now, the question is how do these principalities, powers and rulers dominate the masses?

    Through deceptive mind control. There you have it, the battle for the soul of man is the battle for the mind, they are actually one and the same.

    If you notice all of the authoritative figures we have listed are there to influence the way people think. The best place Satan can place his wicked spirits is obviously in positions of rule and power and authority so that he can have the greatest impact over the world by mind manipulation and propaganda.

    He is after all called the prince of this world. God’s word does say that the entire world lies in the sway of the wicked one 1 John 5:19.

    So the warfare we must wage is not with the actual human agents as much as the wicked powers who control them, in reality it’s against the evil and wicked deceptions they sow in the minds of people and unfortunately we are all in one way or another vulnerable and subjected to these ideologies and philosophies and false doctrines that they sow.

    This concept is really brought even more into the forefront in the passage of 2 Corinthians 10. So far Ephesians 6 has helped us understand what our spiritual weapons are and who are enemy is and we have seen where the battlefield is and this is now confirmed by Paul when he says :

    2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    The weapons are God’s armor and the sword of the Spirit, God’s word described in Ephesians 6.

    These are mighty through God, to do what? Pulling down strongholds and casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

    If we notice carefully Paul is telling us where we are fighting the battle and what we should be doing. Where are the strongholds Paul is talking about? Pulling down strongholds and casting down imaginations and everything that exalts against what? The knowledge, the knowledge of who? God right? So what is the known seat of knowledge? The mind. Believe it or not our mind is what we get to know everything with, even the spiritual things. Remember? The spirit must be alive and actively connected to God in order to understand the things that are spiritual but they are still understood by our mind, which is called also our soul.

    The strongholds or fortresses are therefore built in our minds and they actually create the imaginations or arguments which lift themselves up against what can be known of God and that is from God.

    In addition, the text in verse 5 says taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. This very fact indicates further that the entire context speaks of the mind.

    So the spiritual warfare we are to engage in is against the demonic, worldly philosophies and ideologies that are sown in people’s minds through other human beings that are controlled by wicked spiritual powers which get placed in positions of power and control over the masses in such a way that they indoctrinate the world with Satanic destructive ideologies and philosophies which then create thought programming that becomes like a fortress in people’s minds. These thought programs are strong fortresses that need to be pulled down, in addition they are imaginations because they are actually not reality according to God’s truth. Also they are arguments, in fact if you notice how the world argues against God and tries to exalt itself against the knowledge of God.

    So as we see these two passages, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and Ephesians 6:10-17 are actually complementary to each other and speak in reality about the same warfare.

    In fact we connect the two because 2 Corinthians 10:3 mentions spiritual weapons but does not specify what they are, while instead Ephesians 6 explains to us what those weapons are. 2 Corinthians 10 explains where the spiritual warfare is and what it is and Ephesians 6 explains who is behind it and how we fight it and then 2 Corinthians 10 explains the actual basis and cause of what we need to destroy and demolish through our warfare with our God given weapons.

    In fact when we examine all the armor pieces in Ephesians 6 we see that they really all have to do with fighting against ideologies and philosophies in the mind.

    Without examining in depth every piece of armor let’s see if this is true.

    The first piece is: the belt of truth. Right away we see that we have to have mastery of truth, God’s truth in order to expose and fight our enemies’ lies and deceptions.

    The second piece is: the breastplate of righteousness, this one is more subtly connected with truth as a closer examination of this piece of armor defines the real status and behavior of a believer which is essential to the true nature and position of a believer and our salvation. This is a place that is constantly under attack by the lies of the enemy who sows doubt regarding the believer’s righteousness both in position as well as behavior. So the proper understanding of this piece of armor is essential to fight the lies of the enemy.

    The third piece is: feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; The proper understanding of the real and not compromised Gospel is essential because it is the power of God to save all who believe. A faulty version of the Gospel is the enemy’s deception, the corruption of the Gospel and God’s word is essential for the enemy to sow into the mind of people. That’s why we have to have the true Gospel to bring every where we go. It s God’s power to set people free from sin and also erroneous doctrines and religions. Again here we see how this is connected to the setting free of those who are deceived by the deceptive and lying religious rulers.

    The fourth piece is: the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

    Here again we notice that our faith, belief in God’s word and His promises acts as a shield to quench the fiery darts of the devil and his servants. This is also connected to the spiritual warfare in the mind. Faith means believe and the believer not only believes in God but also in what God says. Our faith, living by faith is believing everything that God says and promises. Once again we see how this is connected to the mind and the word of God. Without this shield the enemies lies and deceptions will pierce us through and harm us.

    The fifth piece of armor is: the helmet of salvation

    Our salvation is a helmet for us as it protects all our thoughts as the helmet protects the head. Our head is where our mind resides, our brain is the seat of the soul so that being saved is the beginning of freeing our minds and reprogramming them properly. Without salvation one cannot ever know or understand God’s truth, however even as believers we must understand the truth regarding our salvation, what it really means to be saved, understanding the permanency of our salvation is paramount to being secure in our salvation so that we can protect our thinking and with the help of the next piece, the sword of the Spirit we can demolish all the fortresses, arguments and imaginations our enemies sow in the mind.

    The next and last piece is: the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

    All other pieces of God’s armor are actually connected with this one. They all ultimately hinge upon the proper understanding of this last one. God’s word is truth, so it’s connected to the belt of truth. God’s word teaches us our true position of righteousness in Christ and teaches us what righteous behavior is so this is connected to the breastplate of righteousness. Gods’ word is naturally connected to the Gospel as the Gospel is also am integral part of God’s word and truth. God’s word is connected to the shield of faith because our faith is based upon God’s word as it is generated by God’s word and our faith is in God’s word and His promises. God’s word is closely related to our salvation as it is the promoter of salvation and it explains our salvation and it gives us assurance of the permanence of salvation, thing that the enemy always and constantly attacks sowing doubts about it. So God’s word is related to all other armor pieces but the word as we read also in Hebrews 4 is the sword of the Spirit.

    Again, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God is the most effective of all weapons just because all other spiritual weapons we have all are connected to God’s word and God’s word is the only weapon which is, perhaps only together with the shield of faith, the only weapons that are of offensive nature. With God’s word and all its parts we fight to demolish, tear down every fortress, every argument, every imagination in the mind. In the end our battle is a battle for the truth.

    It’s the truth against Satan’s lies in reality!

    So here we are, we went full circle we are back to the word of God as the only effective instrument to pull down lies, deceptions, doubts, ideologies and philosophies that are controlling people’s minds and in the case in point of our study specifically in the minds of believers.

    The word of God is the instrument, and the only instrument with which we can effectively renew our minds. We do this by waging this particular spiritual warfare in order to free our minds of all things that were and are being programmed into them which are contrary to God’s word, His person and His will.

    Scripture is very clear that it’s in the mind that we are either friends or enemies of God or friends and enemies of the world. As we have seen so far to be friends with the ways of the world is to be enemies of God and to be enemies of the world is to be friends with God. Since those who are still unsaved, not regenerated, still natural or carnal persons are all and always enemies of God because their minds cannot submit to God nor are they willing to submit to God, we have seen this very clearly delineated in Romans 8:5-8 as well as 1 Corinthians 2:14.

    However, we also have other Scriptures that really help us understand that it is also possible to be born again and still have a mind that is at enmity with God. Perhaps not every thought or belief is at odds with God but some may still very well be. In fact if it was not so we would not be studying this passage nor would it even exist. Our minds are always and constantly in need to be renewed and are always in danger of being programmed the wrong way. Only when the word of God truly reprograms our thinking that we are able to withstand the false and negative programming of the world and the devil.

    Ephesians 2:2-3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

    Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

    Titus 1:15-16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

    These passages clearly show us that the mind of man is that from which originate all types of ungodly behavior and also where Satan’s and the world’s ideologies and philosophies take root and program man’s mind to alienate them from God even further.

    What we see in these passages though is that the warnings are given to believers not unbelievers. Basically a person who becomes born again has the ability to be able to renew their mind by the reprogramming by the word of God.

    Just because a person becomes born again does not mean that all of their mind is changed at that time. There are some things that are changed automatically in the mind by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit such as the recognition of our sinfulness, the lordship of Jesus Christ and His saving power however many, many thought patterns, beliefs and even many sinful behaviors are not immediately or automatically accepted as wrong and changed.

    In fact if we understand properly what repentance really means we will find out that it has to do with changing the mind. When we first are saved the first repentance is a change of mind regarding our general sinful state, we know we are sinners who deserve God’s wrath, we know we sin and seek to be forgiven. In addition we change our mind regarding God and Jesus, we recognize them as who they are, this is also in a general sense and not in a detailed way.

    We are called to a life of repentance, not only regarding all the sins we continue to commit but also about thoughts, ways, beliefs, ideologies and philosophies that are contrary to God and His word and His will. In essence that is really what 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 is telling us to do.

    Repentance therefore really has to to with a change of mind regarding things we think and believe that are contrary to God and His word.

    In fact the word repentance in the Greek language in reality signifies a change of mind.

    The word metanoeo, expresses the true New Testament idea of the spiritual change implied in a sinner’s return to God. The term signifies “to have another mind,” to change the opinion or purpose with regard to sin, in regard to God, His person and all that concerns His word and will. It is equivalent to the Old Testament word ” to turn.”

    It is employed for example by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles (Matt 3:2; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38). The idea expressed by the word is intimately associated with different aspects of a spiritual transformation and of Christian life, with the process of faith (Acts 20:21), and as conversion (Acts 3:19); also with those experiences and blessings of which God alone is the author, as remission and forgiveness of sin (Luke 24:47; Acts 5:31). It is sometimes conjoined with baptism, which as an overt public act proclaims a changed relation to sin and God (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24; 19:4). As a vital experience, repentance is to manifest its reality by producing good fruits appropriate to the new spiritual life (Matt 3:8).

    In other words a changed mind leads to a change of behavior.

    Repentance also means “to Turn Over” “to Turn Upon,” “to Turn Unto”: The word epistrepho, is used to bring out more clearly the distinct change wrought in repentance. It is employed quite frequently in Acts to express the positive side of a change involved in New Testament repentance, or to indicate the return to God of which the turning from sin is the negative aspect.

    The two conceptions, metanoeo and epistrepho are inseparable and complementary. The word is used to express the spiritual transition from sin to God (Acts 9:35; 1 Thess 1:9); to strengthen the idea of faith (Acts 11:21); and to complete and emphasize the change required by New Testament repentance (Acts 26:20).

    There is great difficulty in expressing the true idea of a change of thought with reference to sin when we translate the New Testament “repentance” into other languages. The Latin version renders it “exercise penitence” (poenitentiam agere). But “penitence” etymologically signifies pain, grief, distress, rather than a change of thought and purpose.

    Thus Latin Christianity has been corrupted by the error of presenting grief over sin rather than abandonment of sin as the primary idea of New Testament repentance. It was easy to make the transition from penitence to penance, consequently the Romanists represent Jesus and the apostles as urging people to do penance (poenitentiam agite). The English word “repent” is derived from the Latin repoenitere, and inherits the fault of the Latin, making grief the principal idea and keeping it in the background, if not altogether out of sight, the fundamental New Testament conception of a change of mind especially with reference to sin.

    But the exhortations of the ancient prophets, of Jesus, and of the apostles show that the change of mind is the dominant idea of the words employed, while the accompanying grief and consequent reformation enter into one’s experience from the very nature of the case.

    Therefore repentance has three aspects to it, the first one is:

    The Psychological Element.

    This is also an Intellectual Element: Repentance is that change of a sinner’s mind which leads him to turn from his evil to all of God’s ways. The change wrought in repentance is to be deep and radical as to affect the whole spiritual nature and to involve the entire personality. The intellect must function, the emotions must be aroused, and the will must act. Psychology shows repentance to be profound, personal and all-pervasive. The intellectual element is manifest from the nature of man as an intelligent being, and from the demands of God who desires only rational service. We have seen this concept delineated for us in verse one of Romans 12, reasonable, rational service.

    Man must apprehend all sin as heinous, divine law, His word perfect.

    The second aspect attached to repentance is:

    The Emotional Element:

    A knowledge of sin without turning from it as an awful thing which dishonors God and ruins us. The change of view may lead only to a dread of punishment and not to the hatred and abandonment of sin. An emotional element is necessarily involved in repentance. While feeling is not the equivalent of repentance, it nevertheless it is a powerful impulse to a genuine turning from sin. A penitent cannot from the nature of the case be stolid and indifferent. The emotional attitude must be altered if New Testament repentance be experienced. There is a type of grief that issues in repentance and another which plunges into remorse. There is a godly sorrow and also a sorrow of the world. The former brings life; the latter, death 2 Cor 7:9-10. There must be a consciousness of sin in its effect on man and in its relation to God before there can be a true turning away from unrighteousness. The feeling naturally accompanying repentance implies a conviction of personal sin and sinfulness and an earnest appeal to God to forgive according to His mercy.

    The third aspect is:

    The Volitional Element:

    This is the will. This aspect of the penitent’s experience is expressed in the Old Testament by “turn”, or “return,” and in the New Testament by “repent” or “turn.”

    The words employed in the Hebrew and Greek place the chief emphasis on the will, once again the change of mind and of purpose, because a complete and sincere turning to God involves both the apprehension of the nature of sin and the consciousness of personal guilt. The demand for repentance implies free will and individual responsibility. That men are called upon to repent there can be no doubt, and that God is represented as taking the initiative in repentance is equally clear. The solution of the problem belongs to the spiritual sphere. The psychical phenomena have their origin in the mysterious relations of the human and the divine personalities. There can be no external substitute for the internal change. Sackcloth for the body and remorse for the soul are not to be confused with a determined abandonment of sin and return to God.

    As we see then renewing our mind is actually bringing us to repent and repenting means changing our mind and willingly submitting to the new way of thinking. The two go hand in hand because as we know our way of thinking will ultimately affect our emotions and our behavior.

    So now we have ascertained what is that we have to renew our minds from, sinful behavior first of all, secondly we have seen that besides sinful behavior we must renew our minds from the ideologies and philosophies and ways of the world. Thirdly we have seen that we must renew our minds from false and erroneous doctrines and images of God. Fourthly we have seen what the obstacles are that stand in the way of renewing our minds. Fifthly we have seen what the weapons to use are in this task of renewing our mind. Sixth, we have seen that repentance is actually changing our minds and modifying behavior to reflect God’s thoughts and practice righteous behavior.

    The seventh thing we must now look at is how we actually renew our mind.

    As we have already seen the only way we can and will renew our mind is through the word of God.
    It is true that God is the One who renews our minds but He will do it through His word.

    In order to do so we must willingly submit to three important things regarding the use of God’s word.

    We did mention them in passing through this study already.

    The first thing we must do in order to renew our minds, demolish strongholds and pull down arguments and imaginations and in order to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ as explained in
    2 Corinthians 10:3-5, is:

    Reading the word of God

    We did already mention before the essential basics of mind renewal is a disciplined, regular and systematic reading of the word of God.

    This is the least we should do and yet it is actually something that a lot of believers either do not even do or do wrong.

    Now let me say this, just reading God’s word to renew one’s mind is not enough but it is the minimal essential, it does help a lot in the process of mind renewal if we just read God’s word. I did say that there is a wrong way of reading God’s word. One would or could argue that it’s just enough to read it regardless and that that is enough and as long as someone reads it we should not make it ritualistic or a methodology.

    I beg to differ on that opinion. How we read God’s word is just as important as just reading it. How we read it will determine whether or not we will begin the proper and complete renewal process of our minds or if we just will renew a part of our mind and only get to comprehend parts of God’s word and not ever understand others, If we will understand God only in some of His attributes or know God as He is truly revealed in His word. The process of knowing God begins is and when we read His word in the proper way.

    What is the wrong and right way of reading God’s word?

    First of all it is a good beginning even IF we read God’s word at all, this is true.

    In order to be comprehended properly, in order to begin the renewal process of our minds the word of God first of all must be:

    Read with systematic and disciplined regularity

    What does this mean? It first of all means beginning in Genesis 1 and reading it every day throughout until we get to Revelation 22. This means reading it cover to cover without skipping any of it.
    One can choose how much time they spend reading it per day, however it must be read every day.

    Doing this does many things, first of all it disciplines us to read God’s word every day, secondly it disciplines us to read God’s word in its entirety. By the way this is something very few believers actually ever do. Let me say this, when we do this we must still keep in the forefront of our minds that it is God’s word and that God will speak to us through it if we are listening and if we do not get trapped into just reading for the sake of reading it as it was a simple generic book.

    Another very important thing when we do this is that it will force us to read parts of the word of God we would probably, in fact most likely will not read and even purposefully avoid.

    As I mentioned before many pastors today actually discourage, especially new believers from reading all the Bible.

    They will encourage them to read only the New Testament books because they are easier to understand.

    Personally I believe this a great error and a great obstacle to gain knowledge of God’s word and even to get to know God properly. Their problematic theory is that new believers will become overwhelmed and confused if they read the Old Testament. I do not believe that is at all the case.

    First of all if a person is truly a believer they will desire to read all God’s word, why would someone not want to understand creation, how sin came about, how Israel was born, Israel’s history and the promise of Messiah? Certainly there are some challenging books in the Old Testament but as I said previously, what are the pastor/elders there for then? Aren’t they there to teach? Aren’t they there to help believers come to the full understanding of God’s word? That is exactly what their main responsibility is. Perhaps these who discourage believers from reading the entire council of God don’t want to bother answering doctrinal questions if someone has any and perhaps because they themselves are poorly qualified to teach and this is a big problem in the church. In addition maybe they are just so busy doing other things that they aren’t even supposed to be doing, that they actually don’t want to take the time to teach and explain and answer questions.

    Yet the Apostle Paul and even Peter actually give us an entire different take on the Old Testament Scriptures, they did not at all discourage believers from reading and understanding the Scriptures if you consider that in their days besides what was being written by them all were Old Testament Scriptures.

    Look at some things Paul said about the O.T. Scriptures:

    Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

    1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

    As we see here Paul is clearly saying that what was written beforehand in the Old Testament Scriptures was written for us, for our learning so that through those Scriptures we might learn, have patience, comfort and hope. In the second passage Paul says that the Scriptures were written for our admonition and even here we need to understand he is referring to Old Testament Scriptures.

    Even more important is the next passage:

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    Once again Paul now says that ALL Scripture is profitable, all of it is sufficient to teach us doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteous living so that the man of God may be complete and completely furnished to do all that God calls to do.

    The fact that Paul said all Scripture cannot leave any of it out, this is both Old Testament and New.

    It’s worth mentioning again that in those days they really only had the Old Testament Scriptures and yet Paul is placing a great importance on them. So why do many pastors today try to make believers avoid Old Testament reading?

    For example, in the New Testament there are a few general exhortations to fathers especially on how to bring up their children in the ways of the Lord, yet only in the Old Testament we find the practical and complete and thorough instructions on how to raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

    So where would a parent go to find out how to train a child in the ways of God? Old Testament that is where. Yet if people are encouraged to avoid the Old Testament how would they ever know how to raise their children in a godly way. Raising children in a godly way, in the fear and admonition of the Lord is not forcing them to go to church and attend Sunday school and thinking that is doing what the word of God says. This is actually what most believers do but that is not at all what the word of God commands parents to do. It’s the parents’ responsibility to teach and train their children in godliness.

    Many, many shepherds do much harm in discouraging Old Testament reading and studying, this is completely detrimental to the entire church and it shows all across the church.

    The consequences are that many children do not continue to follow the Lord when they are older because it is not the parents who taught them properly the ways of God, instead they abdicated their responsibilities by placing he Sunday school teachers in their place and believe me God does not honor an abdication of responsibilities, there are consequences and they are not good.

    So as we see just in this subject alone we find how incredibly detrimental it is to discourage believers from reading the Old Testament.

    I say instead that reading the word of God, all of it and systematically from Genesis to Revelation is not only to be encouraged it is to be exhorted strongly.

    There is another reason to do so which is incredibly important, only by reading in this habitual and systematic way will we gain a mastery of how God has operated His entire plan of redemption, only by reading and eventually studying the Old Testament we will understand better the New Testament and many, many doctrines are better or even only understood through the knowledge of the entire word of God. In addition we will know God in all His attributes only if we know the Old Testament, we will even understand Jesus and what He teaches better if we know the Old Testament. The Gospels must be understood through the lens of the Old Testament Scriptures, the book of Hebrews is much better understood if we are familiar with the Old Testament law.

    In addition look at what Paul exhorts, actually commands Timothy to do:

    1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

    By the way, these are the three main responsibilities of the pastor/elder, reading God’s word, preaching it and teaching it.

    These are all things the pastor should do in the church, the reading of God’s word was reading the Old Testament Scriptures and reading the Apostles’ epistles. So as we see Paul did not discourage the reading of the Old Testament because he thought it was too difficult to understand.

    In the Old Testament writings as well the reading of them was highly encouraged and it was often even publicly done.

    Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

    Deuteronomy 31:11-13 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

    This passage is remarkable, God is commanding that His word be read to all, men, women and children. Now how complicated and hard to understand is God’s word if God commands it to be read even to children, by the way they did not have the children’s picture Bible back then. Yet today many make such a big deal about it, they will say that even adults cannot understand God’s Old Testament word, it’s too complicated for them can you imagine for children? Yet in spite of all their conclusions regarding the reading of God’s word God wants it read even to children. Now, let me ask, who knows better God or today’s so called shepherds?

    Nehemiah 8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

    Nehemiah 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

    In these passages of Nehemiah we find many interesting things and again we find the fact that the law was read to all people children included. The word of God was read for six hours straight. Can you imagine that? Today people struggle to read it for twenty minutes. Today even pastors claim that people cannot stay interested or pay attention for more than twenty minutes when it comes to the reading, studying or staying under the teaching and preaching of God’s word.

    This is absolute and pure nonsense. The reason people cannot endure more than twenty minutes of anything related to God’s word is mainly because the pastors are guilty of shortening the people’s exposure to God’s word. The other main reason is because the word of God is not an essential part of believer’s lives. Of course if carnal things are more important than spiritual things for believers then it’s evident that there is not enough desire or interest in the word of God and that is why for these types of believers the word of God is boring or annoing or too intense for them and of course they cannot understand it thoroughly. These are the signs of people who are not exposed enough and do not expose themselves enough to the word of God.
    The second important thing we see is that in the event someone could not understand something the Levite priests caused the people to understand the reading by giving it the sense it had to have, this is the equivalent of expository teaching.

    So we see the importance of reading God’s word and we see it’s not an option. Actually it’s a commandment as we clearly have seen in the Deuteronomy passage as we all as the Apostolic commandment Paul gave Timothy and to all other pastors as well.

    However, reading is not only for the pastors it’s for all believers, how do we expect God to otherwise speak His mind to us if we are not at the very least reading His word.

    We did see previously that God only speaks through and by His written word. There is no other way God will make us know His will, His thoughts and even know Him as He truly is.

    So as I said, reading it the very first basic step with which we begin to renew our minds and to know God, His will, His thoughts and His entire plan of redemption as well as all we need to know to live in a godly way and also warns us of dangers in days to come. Reading God’s word in a disciplined and systematic way will also give more desire to a believer to know it and know God.

    Reading God’s word in a systematic and continuous way is absolutely necessary, so if we want to renew our minds we have to start here.

    There are is also another very good way to read God’s word in addition to the previous not instead and that is read every book of the Bible over and over for about five times. This method is OK to start with the New Testament. So, we take for example the Gospel of Matthew and break it down in sections. Matthew has twenty eight chapters, so we can break down the Gospel in four sections of seven chapters or seven sections of four chapters or two sections of fourteen chapters or if one wants to get ambitious could even read it all. The method is to read every section one chooses every day for an entire week.

    This is also a very good method to read and get to know God and His word in a much better way and begin a much through process of mind renewal.

    Now let’s look at the next step up in the process of renewing our mind.

    The Study of God’s Word

    Now we begin to add to the systematic, disciplined and continuous reading of God’s word.

    We now add to our reading the study of God’s word. This will take us in a deeper knowledge of God, of His will and His thoughts.

    So far we have seen, reading God’s word is God’s will for His people and it is commanded.

    Studying God’s word is also God’s will for His people and it’s also commanded.

    We begin looking at the commandments of God regarding this subject matter in the Old Testament.

    A good beginning to see this is:

    Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

    Now although in this passage we don’t find a direct verbatim commandment to study God’s word we do see one that commands to teach it diligently to our children.

    This commandment is to fathers to teach their children God’s word. Now this has to do with studying it as well because when someone is supposed to teach another this means that who is being taught will be required to study what is being taught. Even in school we are taught subjects but we are not only taught them but we are required to study what is being taught.

    Receiving a teaching does not at all eliminate the responsibility of having to study the same subject on our own. In fact this is essential to arrive at the proper understanding of what is being taught, also this will aid us in confirming that what is being taught to us is in reality true and sound doctrine. This is a very sticky issue in the church at large today. Many people believe false doctrines because they just accept everything that others teach them without studying for themselves the word of God.

    We see there is an episode in the New Testament in which people went and studied and confirmed that what Paul was teaching them was the truth.

    Acts 17:10-11 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    Just think about this for a moment. The Scripture itself declares that these people were more noble than others, why? Because even though they received the word with readiness of mind they still searched the Scriptures daily, they studied them daily to see if what was being taught to them was indeed so.

    Just think who was that was teaching them, Paul yet they still checked him to see if what he was teaching was accurate. Now we don’t see Paul getting offended because they checked his teaching in fact to the contrary the Scriptures calls them noble. I myself encourage everyone to check and study God’s word against what I teach to see if what I teach is biblical and sound doctrine.

    We see then that there are two ways of studying God’s word, being taught the word in a real and thorough way and studying the word in the same way.

    A New Testament Scripture that commands to study God’s word is found in:

    2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    There are very interesting things in this passage we need to see. First and foremost the commandment is to study God’s word. Now, I know someone might say that this passage was written as a commandment to Timothy as a pastor/elder so that the commandment and responsibility is for the pastor/elder to study. Many could claim that this is a responsibility of the pestor/elder to teach so that they must also study in order to teach properly.

    This is true, it’s absolutely true except for one thing, it’s not only a commandment for a pastor/elder but it’s a commandment and a responsibility for all believers.

    As we have seen before in Deuteronomy the commandment was to teach God’s word to our children but as we said being taught implies studying as well.

    Now it is absolutely true that a pastor/elder must teach and therefore the issue is true in reverse as well. If a person is required to teach then they better know what they teach and this obviously implies studying. So to teach one must study and to be taught one must study. This is a reality that cannot be denied nor can it be avoided.

    Getting back to the passage, Paul tells Timothy and also us that we must study to show ourselves approved by God. God gives approval to our studying and teaching when as the passages goes on saying, a workman that does not need to be ashamed. Now what does this mean? I believe this means that we must study God’s word as a worker, studying God’s word is work and if done properly it’s hard work. It takes discipline, diligence, effort and time. One must study God’s word as if it was actual work and work that is necessary and essential, without which a person is spiritually bankrupt. Just like a person who does not work cannot make a living so a believer that does work in Bible study will not have spiritual dividends and will be spiritually broke. So studying is work, hard work. In addition Paul states, a worker that does not need to be ashamed.

    Ashamed of what? I believe this has two main meanings. One is to be ashamed before God and the other ashamed before men.

    The first one is not to feel ashamed before the judgment seat of Christ when He will judge our work. First of all let me specify, this is not the judgment as it is depicted in Revelation 20. That is the judgment of the unsaved people according to their works in order to meet the level of their eternal punishment. The judgment seat of Christ is the judgment of Christian’s faithfulness and obedience in their works in order to receive rewards in the eternal kingdom of God.

    If a person does not study God’s word they will not be able to properly assess God’s will nor to know God in a real way this will definitely affect the faithfulness and obedience in one’s spiritual life and work. This would then translate not into a loss of salvation rather in a loss of commendations and approval before God which would cause us to be ashamed before Him. Now this shame will be private and temporary before Christ nevertheless it will be real.

    The second way we can be or definitely will be ashamed if we do not diligently study God’s word is before men.

    Even Peter in other words tells us we should always be able to tell, explain what we believe and why to interested people. Let me repeat that, people who show an interest and have genuine questions regarding what we believe and why we believe what we believe.

    1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

    So as we understand, we must be always ready to give an answer to who wants to know about our faith, about our God and our life in Christ. We could and would therefore be ashamed if we did not know how or what to answer them, would we not?

    Now let me give you some insight in this very thing. There are two basic types of people who will ask us things regarding our beliefs and our faith.

    There are those who may be and are genuinely interested and curious and the mockers who asks us questions just to make fun of us and taunt us and often to test our patience with them as well as to see if we actually know what we are believing.

    The first category are people who are actually subdivided in two categories, the first are those who are genuinely affected by God to receive the His word, these are the elect who are called by the Gospel to salvation. These will eventually, even though perhaps with time, some time a long time come to faith.

    The second category are those who may just be naturally curious and just want to know for the sake of knowing, they will probably never come to faith but will often relentlessly continue to bombard us with questions. These are not those who are hostile or those who mock our faith but are often planted in our lives by the enemy to make us waste time and to frustrate and eventually discourage us. This happens because we may spend huge amounts of time with them telling them about God and Jesus and answering their questions but then they never come to faith and often they eventually just stop asking and show themselves to be totally not interested any longer. This often frustrates us because we feel that we wasted a lot of time on them without result.

    The other category are the mockers, those who are just looking to argue with us about the validity of our faith and the validity of God or often even the existence of God. They are abrasive, often rude and very bellicose and belligerent. They seem to always have an answer to everything we may answer and they make fun of our faith and beliefs and our God.

    This last category is better avoided and it is better often not to get engaged in conversation or debates with them as they are only trying to discredit what we believe. We need to exercise spiritual discernment before we engage in answering questions or before we debate people. First is we have to be able to answer and debate, we need to have knowledge and that comes only through the diligent study of God’s word. However, Jesus told us to beware of those who are mockers and after we figure out that’s what they are we should not engage with them in these matters, look at Jesus’ warning given to us:

    Matthew7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    Look at how John the Baptist answers the questions of the mockers of his day:

    Matthew 3:7-10 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    To the mockers we give the Gospel of salvation and warn them about their impending doom if they don’t change their ways. John did not get into all kinds of semantics and explanations as to what and why he was doing what he was but just straight out told them they were in danger of hell.

    It’s useless to give what is holy to dogs and what is sacred to swine. The holy, the sacred and what is precious is for the children of God. The only message the mockers need to hear is the Gospel of grace and of judgment. If they turn from their evil ways then we can give them the holy, sacred and precious things of God if not they should only know their judgment is at hand.

    That’s what Jesus did, that’s what the Apostles did and therefore is what we should also do.

    Look at what Paul is telling Timothy as he goes on further in the passage:

    2 Timothy 2:16-26 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

    This passage is actually confirming what I was saying. We are to avoid profane and vain babblings, these are often what the mockers do, they incite us to take part in things of spiritual nature as the text says but they are profane and vain. These Hymenaeus and Philetus actually were false teachers and by their teachings they were deceiving people. The issue here as we also see in verses 23 through 26 is not to get into debating with these people because God knows that doing so will unavoidably cause strife and God does not want us to strive. He tell us to avoid, avoid to debate and argue with those who are not willing to receive the truth. These will entice us with unlearned and foolish questions, not because they want to learn but because they want to argue and debate us. God says that we must instead teach in gentleness and again we must therefore be able to teach. Teach those who want to learn and those who ask with the right intent and motive because God intends to give them repentance and acknowledge the truth sot that they may recover themselves out of the devil’s snare.

    However in any and all of these categories if we demonstrate that we don’t know what we believe or why we cannot give them valid and concise answers we will be put to shame. It is shameful not to be able to have answers about things we should instead have a thorough knowledge.

    Now getting back to our passage in question Paul concludes it with this, rightly dividing the word of truth

    So let’s take a step back, we commanded to study God’s word with great effort, diligently, in a disciplined fashion so that we are approved by God, not man, not to be shamed before God or man because we were not able to know what we should have and finally we must know how to rightly divide the word of truth.

    We see here that there is therefore a right way and a wrong way of dividing God’s word.

    There is a study called rightly dividing the word of God in our website, in this study we go in depth as to how one has to actually learn and study God’s word. There is a right way and a wrong way to divide God’s word. I invite you to read the online study that will help you immensely in how to be able to interpret God’s word properly.

    The wrong way of interpreting God’s word is what gives life and strength to false doctrines and false images of God.

    So when we begin to study God’s word we need to study how to properly study it as well.

    Let me just give you some quick pointers as to how to properly study God’s word.

    Context is The King of Interpretation

    First and foremost the interpretation of God’s word must be done always interpreting God’s word in its context. We never ever should take any verse or passage or anything for that matter out of its context. Entire religious movements and false doctrines have been created because verses and passages of Scripture were taken out of context. That is Satan’s favorite way of wreaking havoc in the church and in creating false doctrines and even religions. He even tried this method when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, see Luke 4:9-11.

    Scripture interprets Scripture

    The second principle of proper study is that Scripture interprets Scripture. Only the unity and homogeneity of all Scripture has what it takes to interpret God’s word properly. Doctrines and biblical facts are ALL confirmed by the evidence of their continued existence throughout all of God’s word. A doctrine cannot be constructed, or at least should not be, if the doctrine or the fact is not found throughout all of Scripture. Too many doctrines, which are false of course, are created in this way, first taking things out of their context and then creating a teaching when there is no evidence of it or when it is not fully supported throughout all of God’s word. There are many examples of this, but perhaps the most common issues in Scripture that have been made into false doctrine by taking verses and passages out of context are those regarding salvation and election. These two issues have been misrepresented and falsely taught in a great part of the church. Salvation for example is taught by many to be something a true believer can actually lose. Scripture not only does not substantiate this claim it actually rejects it and teaches the opposite.
    We cannot and will not take the time right here to look at this issue however it suffices to say that many are the passages, references and declarations in God’s word that confirm that if a person is truly saved they are saved forever and cannot an will not lose that salvation. The next issue is regarding the doctrine called sovereign election also known as predestination. Scripture from the Old Testament all the way through the New teaches the existence of this fact. Scripture is abundantly riddled with passages and concepts and verses that confirm the existence and the genuineness of this teaching. However it is denied by most in the church and even worse it is called a heresy and a false teaching by many, but they must be very careful in stating this because this doctrine is the basis of our and their salvation and it is actually very offensive to God’s person and His redemptive plan to assert this doctrine is false. Again this doctrine not only is clearly manifested in all of Scripture but it is actually an integral part of God’s plan of redemption and even His person and His attributes. Denying this doctrine is a very grave offense to God and His word and to Jesus’ sacrifice. By the way the two doctrines, salvation and election are actually so interconnected that one is actually dependent on the other so that when the error is created in one it is easily spread to the other.

    Once again this happens because the doctrine that God’s word clearly defines and confirms is rejected on the basis of other doctrines that are false. These false doctrines actually are created by man and are brought into the biblical text from the outside, which brings us to the third principle of sound and correct biblical interpretation or study.

    The Meaning of the Text or the Existence of a Doctrine is Only to be Drawn Out of the Text

    This third principle is very important and it is in a way connected to the context issue. Nevertheless this principle is known as biblical Exegesis.

    The word exegesis is a Greek word which means to “lead out from” or “draw out of ”

    The meaning of this word is colossally important to the proper studying and interpretation of God’s word.

    This means that we ALWAYS have to get the meaning of what God’s word says only and exclusively from the text and NEVER, EVER bring our thoughts or any other type of information to be included in the text or context of what we are trying to interpret.

    Bringing foreign or personal opinions, ideologies, philosophies and facts and placing them in the text is actually opposite the meaning of exegesis it is called eisegesis.

    Unfortunately this is what a lot, if not the majority of people do with God’s word. Instead of letting the text speak the meaning it is intended to have, people’s personal opinions and thoughts are actually placed into the text to give it its meaning. This is a violation of the purity and the veracity of the biblical text. Eisegesis means to place into and we cannot do this ever!
    That is why it is also erroneous to ask people about a biblical text or passage: “ what does this mean to you? ”.

    I don’t care and God does not care what it means to us, He wants to tell us and let us know what it means to Him. That is the meaning we must seek out not men’s opinions but God’s opinion, His meaning. He is the One who inspired His word to be written we MUST find the meaning He wants it to have.

    Now let me say this, it is alright to look at so called external contexts from the actual text to make a more thorough interpretation. However the external contexts we seek to better understand the meaning of the passage are always and only related to the text or context itself. This brings us to the next study principles.

    Using Historical, Geographical and Societal contexts to Better Understand the Text.

    It is not only a good thing it is an essential thing when we study Scripture to understand the text by studying the immediate historical, geographical and societal context of the passage. In other words what’s going on in that time and place at that time and what were the customs and way of life in those days. Actually without the aid of these things it is harder to understand the meaning of many things the Bible speaks of. So, it is not only alright, it is necessary to also study these contexts in the study of God’s word. This is not adding to God’s word it is simply a tool to understand it better. These brings us to the next two and final issues of the principles we must adopt when we study God’s word, if we want to do it properly.

    Grammatical and Literal Context

    The word of God MUST ALWAYS be interpreted and understood within its grammatical structure and it must be interpreted literally unless the language we find in certain passages is symbolic.
    Even in symbolism however, the meaning is literal. Symbols are literally described. We need to find their meaning through the research of other portions of Scripture where the same symbolism has been used. The word of God is NEVER to be understood in a symbolic or metaphoric sense unless the language is symbolic or metaphoric.

    Let’s look for example at a passage we find in Revelation 12.

    Revelation 12:1-2 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

    Now, the Roman Catholic church interprets this passage to say that the woman in question is Mary the mother of Jesus. Now why would they claim this? Is this exegesis or eisegesis? First of all this is definitely eisegesis. The Roman interpreters do not use the basic principles we talk ed about regarding proper interpretation but instead place into the text their own bias and their own understanding. They did not seek to understand the real meaning of the symbols in this passage by seeking Scripture and context in the proper way.

    Scripture will teach us that the symbol of the woman in question is not Mary the mother of Jesus, rather it’s the nation of Israel.

    Now we cannot get into the in depth interpretation of this text but let’s see a couple of things we find in Scripture that will show us that this is Israel.

    In Genesis 37:9 we find this written: And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

    As we see here we have the same exact symbols we find in Revelation 12. The sun and moon and stars represent the entirety of Israel because the sun is Jacob, the moon Jacob’s wife and the eleven stars are Joseph’s eleven brothers who are the twelve tribes that form Israel if you also include Joseph, this is exactly what we are talking about in Revelation 12.

    Now one could argue that, OK that in Genesis 37 is Israel, but the woman could still be Mary because she was with child and she was giving birth to our Savior. On the immediate surface one could arrive at that conclusion but that is taking the passage and meaning out of the immediate and broader context.

    We must also look at the fact that in the Scripture Israel is always symbolically represented by a female figure. In Scripture in fact every religious institution is represented by the symbolic figure of a woman.

    Even Babylon for example is symbolized by a woman.

    In addition, if we look at the entire context of Revelation twelve we see that the context does not support the interpretation that the woman is Mary, she cannot be Mary but it’s the nation of Israel instead, look at the remainder of the chapter.

    Revelation 12:5-6 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

    As we see here, the woman gives birth but her child, Jesus Christ is caught up unto God to His throne. What does this describe? It describes Jesus’ ascension into heaven. It also tells us that it is after this episode that the woman fled in the wilderness. This again cannot be referred to Mary but it can be referred to Israel going into a period of persecution and hiding. In fact, look at the next passage:

    Revelation 12:13-17 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    As we see these last two passages make it impossible that we are talking about Mary but it is definite that we are talking about the woman as the nation from which Messiah has come, in other words Israel. Satan never persecuted Mary and this cannot be the church either as other interpreters erroneously teach, because Jesus gave birth to the church not the other way around. The language in this entire passage cannot support the teaching that this woman is either Mary or the church.

    Grammar also is very, very important when we study Scripture. Often in the translation of the original text whether Hebrew or Greek, we end up missing many important grammatical issues and this actually many times can obfuscate, in other words muddy the true and accurate meaning of the passage in question.

    It is true that most of God’s word can be understood simply by studying it in our own language but the study of God’s word and a better interpretation and understanding of it will come from the examination of the text in its original languages. Where years ago only dedicated biblical linguistic students could achieve deeper study and understanding of God’s word, today many different tools are made available for those of us who want to deeply and seriously become students of God’s word, which I think should be EVERY believer. Of course if one does not want to or finds it particularly difficult doing this they could and should then rely upon their pastor/elders’ teaching skills, if indeed they have such skills and develop them. As I previously said before many in positions of elder in the church either are all together unqualified or they are spiritually slothful and will not therefore attend to their God given responsibilities in teaching the word of God in a sound way.

    Now that we have tackled this study issue in a biblical and a technical way we understand better why Paul made it clear to Timothy that studying God’s word is not only essential but it’s also hard work which must be taken seriously and done diligently and in a disciplined way. This will gain God’s approval as well as making it so that a person may not be ashamed before God and man because they don’t know the meaning of God’s word, studying God’s word will make sure that we will be able to properly and accurately know God’s word and by this increase the renewing process of our mind.

    Without the proper in depth and accurate teaching and study of God’s word a believer will never achieve the renewal of their minds, renewal that God wants to bring about.

    He will bring it about though only IF we submit and obey in this regard.

    The next very important in fact essential process in renewing our minds is:

    The Meditation of God’s Word

    This process, although we mentioned it last, is not at all the least. In fact it should be perhaps as important and maybe even more important in reality than studying.

    I would personally place them at the same level actually.

    Let’s say that reading God’s word is like seeking and looking for all the ingredients to prepare a dinner.

    Studying God’s word instead is like taking all the ingredients and putting them all together to prepare a sumptuous all encompassing dinner, knowing how to use all the different ingredients in the proper manner and putting them together and beginning to eat it savoring all the ingredients perfectly mixed together.

    Meditating God’s word is like digesting all the ingredients and allowing the nutrients to be directed into the body where they are needed.

    The mediation of God’s word allows us to retain much better what we read and study and allows us to understand it better. Meditating is ultimately what makes God’s word become memorable and affect our emotions and behavior.

    Meditating God’s word is what allows us to memorize God’s word better. This is essential in the process of renewing our mind.

    God’s word exhorts us to:

    Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another

    This passage tells us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. This means that it should be in us, in our mind, this as the passage says by obtaining wisdom through teaching and admonition which also as we have seen before includes studying and meditating God’s word.

    Meditating God’s word is basically a lost art in the church. I must admit that even in my life it has become a rare occasion. This is truly a detrimental thing in our lives as believers and in the church.

    Not meditating God’s word is caused by several issues and some we have touched upon already. In order for us to renew our minds by the word of God we have to begin to change a lot of habits in our life. We need to modify on what we place our priorities.

    The greatest excuse I hear regarding why believers do not read God’s word regularly and systematically, why they don’t study God’s word and meditate upon it is, lack of time.

    Why do believers lack time to do all this? Because they do not prioritize and manage their time properly, that’s why!

    Not having time to do these things is an excuse and not a valid reason. If the renewal of our mind is as important to us as it is to God then these three things should have the highest level of priority in our life. If they don’t, then our mind will not become renewed and we will not be transformed as God requires and desires.

    So the problem is not lack of time it’s lack of responsibility, lack of obedience to God and lack of spiritual discipline.

    Even worse, it’s the desire to engage in more carnal activities than in spiritual discipline. Even ministry often takes the place of these practices and that is a negative thing, and not as many think a positive thing.

    If a person’s ministry is not the ministry of the word it’s a fallacy to think that ministry can replace spiritual discipline. In fact if a person is not spiritually disciplined in practicing these three activities they should not even be in ministry, that’s not my take only it’s actually what Paul is really exposing in these two verses of Romans 12. Remember verse one?

    We are to offer ourselves, all ourselves as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable because this is our reasonable, logical service, service, it says service to God.

    The first verse depends on the second, we cannot do what Paul says unless we renew our minds so that we are transformed and we will not be conformed to the ways of the world. These two verses cannot be taken separately but must be taken together as a unit of thought and action.

    The offering of our bodies includes our minds as we have seen before and our service is to be done with reason as well, it must be done with our mind always engaged, but since God desires us to be holy and acceptable we must be active in the process of renewing our minds if we hope to be called into service by God.

    God will honor, truly honor with His call in ministry only those who are actively involved in the process of reading, studying and meditating His word.

    Remember that Paul told Timothy that to be approved by God one must dedicate themselves to the spiritual discipline of at least reading and studying God’s word.

    Unfortunately there are so many believers who enter into service and who are accepted into service by the church who are not called nor approved at all by God. Why? Because their service is not reasonable, is not holy nor is it acceptable to God. Why? Because they are not actively pursuing the process of the renewal of their minds through these three spiritual disciplines.

    This by the way is how false doctrines take root in the church, this is why the church is not governed by the sole authority of God’s word, this is why the world enters the church with all its ideologies and philosophies as well as why sin reigns in the church and it is not dealt with.

    In addition the pastor/elders do not encourage, in fact they discourage, the process of the renewal of the believer’s minds.

    These are all the obstacles that face and prevent believers to achieve the renewal of their mind.

    As we see though, the greatest responsibility, although it passes through the church leaders remains upon the individual believer.

    However, ignorance of God’s word itself is the cause of the lack of mind renewal.

    God will hold both, the leadership and the individual believer, responsible for the lack of the renewal of the mind. Obviously if the leadership in the church does not teach and encourage the believers to renew their minds, if they don’t aid the believer with the proper ways and tools to do so, then this will greatly complicate the actual renewal of the mind.

    Meditation requires a particular environment, it requires time, silence and concentration upon God’s word. Meditation is a practice that has taken a negative aspect in many churches also because it has been associated to negative meditative practices such as transcendental meditation or linked to the practice of meditation used in eastern religions.

    Suffices to say that ALL meditation that is not meditating on God’s word is dangerous and very harmful. Meditation of God’s word is not to be associated with mysticism.

    The fact that it is discouraged in some churches and they are unable to teach how to meditate God’s word is because they fear that people will get into mysticism. However today many, many churches do encourage the wrong types of meditation. They support and encourage eastern religious meditative philosophies, in some churches they even sponsor the practice of Yoga and hold the actual classes on church grounds.

    So what is meditating God’s word? What is the actual meaning of meditation?

    MEDITATION is a private devotional act, consisting in deliberate deep reflection upon some spiritual truth or mystery, accompanied by mental prayer and by acts of the affection and of the will, especially in the formation of resolutions as to future conduct”

    Meditating is thinking deeply on what God’s word says and teaches. This requires time and effort.

    You see that even in the very meaning of the word it is said that meditation is in fact necessary for the formation and the resolution for the future conduct of a believer, this means the same thing that Paul says when he says we are not to be conformed or comply with the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind. It’s as if Paul urged us to meditate upon God’s word in order to renew our minds.

    The word of God teaches us that meditation of itself is not only necessary it’s essential.

    Let’s look at what God’s word says about meditating God’s word.

    Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

    This first passage we are looking into is of immense importance.

    God blesses a person that delights themselves in the word of God and who meditates upon it, how often? Day and night.

    This will cause those who do this to be spiritually fruitful and even successful in every day life. God says that if we meditate upon and then live according to the word of God we will be successful in everything one does.

    Psalms 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

    Here we see again the Psalmist meditates upon God and His ways during the night. When the person needs to stay up or cannot sleep or perhaps purposely looks to the night to meditate upon God and His word. It does make sense, the night is the quiet period in which a person can meditate as the noises and business of the day are subsided. The night and early morning are the best times to meditate. However often these times are purposely chosen and therefore they require a disciplined effort.

    Psalms 119:148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

    This passage actually confirms what I said before, David is saying here that he purposely is preventing his eyes from sleep at night so that he may meditate upon God’s word.

    Psalms 119:78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.

    Here David says something we really should learn to do specifically, when people deal perversely against us without cause we should meditate upon God’s word rather than focusing on the wrong we suffer.

    Psalms 119:97-99 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. 98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

    Here we see how David feels about God’s word. He loves it! He states that he meditates upon it all day long. In addition we see that the meditation of God’s word causes to have wisdom with which we can withstand the plans of our enemies because the meditation of the word of God will make us wiser than our enemies. It will give us the understanding that will make us know more than our worldly teachers because this is what happens when we meditate on God’s word.

    God’s word is the best teacher of all and it gives us all the knowledge, wisdom and discernment that we need. No other teacher or subject in any school or educative system can give us the knowledge, wisdom and discernment that God’s word gives.

    We should know by now that the Scriptures tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge and the beginning of wisdom.

    Psalms 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

    Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    This is the only kind of knowledge and wisdom that God want us to have, only with this type of knowledge and wisdom we can understand life, the world, sin, ourselves but most of all knowing God and being able to understand His thoughts and His ways.

    By the way this is entire subject fits perfectly with the renewal process of our mind. As we said before changing our minds is actual meaning of repentance, when we renew our minds we see and understand everything in the same way God does and that is exactly what God wants to do in us.

    Every subject the world tries to teach and explain has to be vetted and understood only through God’s knowledge and wisdom. When we do that we will understand what is true and what is false, we will have a biblical world view and not a worldly world view. The devil works very hard to make us see things only in a worldly way, that is why he has subverted all the educational system in the world, that is why he has placed all his minions in worldly positions of power and authority and entertainment. His total control of the world system is to cause people to be mentally programmed to view everything form a point of view that is opposed to God’s point of view.

    Hence the battlefield is the mind, it will be here where we will win or lose and we need to understand this concept thoroughly and well.

    This is exactly why the enemy tries so hard to derail the believers’ attempts of reading, studying and meditating God’s word, because he knows that if we renew our mind we will be transformed and we will not be conformed to the ways of the world, he knows we will see and understand everything the way God does and we will conform to His will instead of the enemy’s will.

    The devil owns the unbelievers and they will willingly or unwillingly allow him to program their minds to obey him and in the end this means worshiping him instead of God.

    Paul said to whom we submit to obey we are slaves:

    Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    So now we have seen how and why we must renew our minds, because only this way we can be transformed into who God wants us to be, only this way we will not be conformed to the ways of the world. We have seen and hopefully understood that if we do not renew our minds our behavior will not conform to the behavior God wants us to have. This concept is proven true even in the science of psychology. To modify behavior the mind must be changed to understand and to align itself to the new program in order to involve our emotions and to finally convert our behavior according to the new program. It’s called mind over matter! This is exactly what God is saying, that a renewed mind aligned to His word and will is going to change our way of behaving and make our behavior conformed to His will which again we find in His word.

    This brings us to the second part of verse two of Romans 12.

    Romans 12:2b that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    This is a very important part of verse 2, in fact it’s the final product of the mind’s renewal.

    Often we see and hear many, many Christians struggling in knowing what God’s will is. Many struggle accepting God’s will for their life and many live in open rebellion to God’s will.

    The reason this happens is exactly because the believer’s minds are not renewed. This happens because the only way we will ever know God’s will is if we spend time knowing God and understanding what His will is disclosed for us in His word.

    In fact many, many false doctrines are born and are sowed and accepted exactly because people do not know God nor do they know His will.

    So as we see we are returning again to many of the points we made before, in other words, only through God’s word, reading it in the right way, studying it diligently and meditating it and memorizing, we will renew our minds, only through these spiritual disciplines we will get to know God and know His will. As we see when these are lacking then all kinds of errors come to play in the church and the life of believers, in addition disobedience and rebellion rule in the believer’s life and false and erroneous doctrines are accepted. As we see this causes a person to be conformed to the ways of the world and it prevents transformation because there is no mind renewal. Then not having a renewed mind prevents believers from knowing, recognizing and accepting God’s will.

    In the book of Jeremiah God says this:

    Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

    This beautiful passage gives us a great and clear insight in what God wants from us, in other words some of His will for our life is found in this passage.

    In this passage alone we understand some of God’s will for us.

    God desires, wills for us that we do not seek after worldly wisdom or knowledge or education nor that we should seek after power or riches, instead He wills that we delight in, in other words find our purpose in life in knowing and understanding God. Knowing Him will show us what God wills even further from us.

    God wills that we be like Him and therefore we are to be and to do what He is and does, which is exercise loving kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth.

    This passage actually tells us what we have been saying all along, in other words by knowing God and reading, studying and meditating on His word we begin to renew our mind, we get to know God better and better and by doing so God gives us understanding, knowledge and wisdom according to His word so we can understand and practice His will.

    We see in the Jeremiah passage that God delights in love, kindness, judgment and righteousness.

    This is extremely important, God says He delights in the practice of these in the earth. He wills that these things be practiced in the earth. God want His children to be like Him and therefore we should understand that it’s God’s will that we practice these as well.

    So what we have here is an understanding part of His will for us. Obviously this is not all that God wants us to do and to be but here we begin to understand some of His will.

    So we can start here, as we renew our minds by the word of God several things happen. We get to know how God really is, what He desires us to do and how He desires us to be and in addition He tells us how to do it.

    Many, too many believers have a problem to recognize and accept God’s will. There are many misunderstandings about what God’s will is and how to discern God’s will.

    There are many difficulties in the believers’ lives to discern what God’s will for their lives really is.

    One very big problem in discerning God’s will in many believer’s lives is that they accept other forms of discerning God’s will apart from the written word of God. This brings us to an issue that we already have mentioned previously in this study. The acceptance of rhema words. If you remember rhema words are some other type of means used to hear and discern God’s voice and what he is saying apart from God’s written word. These rhema words would originate in the mind of the persons or they would come from so called prophets in the church, or from so called word of wisdom and knowledge given by other believers.

    We have seen that this rhema word issue is nothing but some type of deception. These methods are not valid at all in knowing what God is speaking to us or to discern God’s will for us.
    I have heard such heresies and false things spoken by many professing believers who believed to have heard or received some rhema word outside of God’s written word.

    People who openly sinned because they obeyed the rhema word they heard, they heard and did things which are totally against God’s will but they determined that it was God’s speaking to them and telling them to do such things.

    I heard true stories of professing believers who heard, supposedly, from God that they should dicorce their wives or husbands because God told them to do so and then married someone else because God told them that was the person they should have been with. This is nothing but a lie from the pit of hell but yet people believe that is God’s will revealed to them.

    This is nothing but some imagination of their wicked mind that they perceive to be God speaking to them because they want to do what is in their wicked hearts. It’s no wonder that Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to use God’s spiritual weapons to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

    These are imaginations in people’s minds not God’s word or God’s will for them. These instead are in opposition to God’s word and will. We need to cast them down and destroy the falsehoods that try to compete with God’s word and His will.

    There is a passage in Jeremiah that explains to us how this was and is still today a grievous and very serious problem.

    Jeremiah 23:16-18 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. 17 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. 18 For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?

    Jeremiah 23:21-32 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. 23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. 25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. 26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; 27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. 28 The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. 29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. 32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

    Let’s look carefully at what these passages are saying.

    In verse 17 speaking about the false prophets God says that they say to those who walk after the imaginations of their own hearts that they can keep doing so and that no evil would come upon them. So basically they could continue to do as they pleased, live in sin and wickedness and they would not be judged, in fact they were saying that they would be blessed instead.

    God is angry with both the false prophets and the evil people who listened to them. The prophets kept insisting that they were speaking for God, they had a rhema word from the Lord. God says in verse 21 that He did not send these prophets. He did not speak to them and yet they prophesied in His name.

    God says that if they had truly and really stood in their counsel they would have caused God’s people to hear His words and to make people turn from their wicked ways and from their evil doing.

    Instead they encouraged the people to commit evil and continue in their evil ways. In verse 25 God says that these prophets prophesied lies in God’s name, in verse 26 God says they prophesy the deceit of their hearts. In verse 27 God says a very interesting thing, He says that these prophets cause the people to forget God’s name. How could that be? They are prophesying in His name why is God saying this? He is saying this because they were taking His name in vain by prophesying lies in His name. The people in turn would forget what God had commanded in His law and would dishonor His name. His name is to be honored by how we live, if we do evil we dishonor God’s name because He has placed His name on His word and His people are called by His name.

    The name of God is like a label or as a trade mark or a certificate of quality of a product, His word and His people are labeled or marked or certified by the name of God. Don’t you think that it would be a disgrace if a manufacturer placed his name, his label a trademark or a certificate of quality on a product which is then not found of the quality of how it is labeled, marked or certified? So it is with God, when His name is on something, the product must be of quality and must live up to His name and of His person.

    Let’s remember that God’s true and real prophets prophesied in perfect unity and accordance with God’s written word. This happens to be the actual crux of the matter. Even today we need to take this in careful consideration. Prophesying today is no longer as it was in Jeremiah’s days even with the true prophets and teachers of God. Today God’s revelation is complete, in fact it is rally appropriate that the last prophetic book in the Bible is called revelation and that it warns not to add or subtract anything from God’s written word.

    Today when we teach or when we prophesy it is done only through the expository teaching of God’s word. There are no rhema words any longer, not as there were in the OT. Even in the OT we need to know that what the prophets said had to be in perfect line with God’s written word. This is because it was God who actually spoke to and through His prophets so obviously God would not ever say anything that is contrary to His written word.

    Once again we return to the knowledge of God’s will regarding what we mentioned before God would NEVER EVER tell someone to get divorced and marry another woman. I don’t care what dream, vision, revelation, voice or prophecy one receives telling them to do such a thing, these are not from God. This cannot be God’s will!

    How do we know?

    We know from knowing what God’s will is regarding this thing (and all things) by the knowledge of God’s written word. God tells us exactly what His will is in His written word.

    So, let’s look at what God says about what His will is regarding divorcing a spouse.

    The first place we look to know what God thinks about this issue is:

    Malachi 2:14-17 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

    This passage speaks all about divorce and how God hates it. Look at verse 16, God says He hates putting away, putting away is the term used for divorcing. You see even in this passage God accuse His people of wearing Him by this practice and then by their words as they would praise their evil doing by considering it a good thing.

    This is exactly what we were talking about before, people saying God tells them to do things He actually hates and then they call this evil good, even worse they call God a liar because they say He told them to do so when He obviously did not.

    God hates, hates, divorce. So what are we to think His will is about this? Certainly not to divorce!

    Just by this we know God’s will is not divorce. God’s will as we said before is to exercise love, kindness, justice and righteousness and forgiveness. So how do we reconcile divorce with these things, that are definitely God’s will? We don’t reconcile divorce with God’s will, we cannot.

    The word of God does not ever reconcile divorce with His will.

    Let’s look at what Jesus has to say about this subject. Speaking to the Jews about what God told them in the law regarding divorce says this in:

    Matthew 19:3-9 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

    This passage is filled with many truths that one by superficially reading it would miss.

    First of all the Pharisees ask Jesus if it is lawful to divorce a wife for any and every reason. Now this is ironic as the Pharisees considered themselves experts of God’s law. One would assume they out of all people should know what is lawful or not. We need also to understand that in those days as it is even in the church today, people did not limit themselves with just simply studying God’s word and His law to get the true interpretation of them, rather they heavily relied in Rabbinical opinions, teachings and interpretations. This happened then and it happens today, you see a lot of people tended and still do to align their opinions of what God’s word means with their own desires about what they want God’s word to mean. Many Pharisees therefore took the side of the rabbis who taught that one could divorce a wife for any and all reasons. Obviously others took the side of those who taught that one could not and should not. We can have many personal opinions of what God’s word says but only one really counts, His!

    Well, now Almighty God tells us what His own take is on this subject. Jesus says this:

    Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    Jesus instead of giving specifics on when or how a person could divorce or if they could, answers them bringing them all the way back to Genesis and asks them if they actually read it or not. Jesus is showing them that the answer to this question precedes the law. It goes all the way back to creation. God’s true and absolute will goes back to creation. What did God establish at creation? First Jesus by quoting this Scripture gives us the evidence that marriage is only between a man and a woman and not with people of the same sex. That is how God created mankind and how God views marriage. In the beginning God created mankind male and female, that’s the only creative order we must accept. In addition to this it is God who created marriage, God instituted marriage and the family unit is a sacred institution to Him, one that no man should tamper or change or dishonor. Then Jesus makes a very important statement, the two will become one flesh. This is important as it does not only speak of the unity a husband and wife have through a intimate sexual union but it goes way beyond that. God sees marriage as two people actually and spiritually becoming one person. Therefore, what God has joined together no man can or should separate.

    This statement is huge, this is God’s will! The two become one because it is God who joins a husband and a wife together, it’s not inherently man who unites, it’s God. Because this is a union God desires to be permanent no man, no one, not even one of the two involved must dissolve the union God made.

    Jesus’s, therefore God’s will is that there be no divorce.

    The Pharisees were not happy with Jesus’s answer. How many times does this happen even today? Someone comes along and asks what God says about this or that, you give them the answer by and through God’s word but they are not happy with the answer they get because it’s not what they wanted to hear.

    You see it’s not God’s will that they want to know and obey, it’s their own opinions and their own desires that want to appease and if you don’t give them the answer they want and desire then they try to find loopholes and excuses. They challenge Jesus’s answer by mentioning that Moses placed in the law a clause that a person could divorce.

    Jesus though tells them why Moses did this, he did it because the people’s hearts were hard. This was actually a law which was designed to protect women mostly.

    This law was placed there by Moses so that women would not be abused by men who became displeased with them. This was and still is today a very big problem in marriages. Abuse and violence and often adultery are born in marriages because people become unsatisfied with their partners, especially men with women but not always and only. This dissatisfaction causes many people to even become violent and abuse their partners.

    So to protect women from this type of abuse and violence Moses wrote in this clause, but Jesus says that this is not at all God’s will, God hates divorce and does not ever support it or condone it.

    In fact Jesus confirms that God’s will about marriage is that no man separate that which He has joined together.

    In fact He also says that divorce is never allowed unless it’s because of sexual infidelity but even so, that if a person divorces his wife, and today even a husband even for that reason remarriage is certainly not allowed as it will result in adultery. There are many schools of interpretation regarding this issue but Scripture clearly shows that IF both persons are believers then divorce is not at all the way to go.

    Many say that Jesus is saying that one can divorce for marital infidelity. They could, in fact it’s the only reason in a marriage between believers but He is also prohibiting remarriage in believers’ lives. This is confirmed in:

    1 Corinthians 7:10-11 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

    This passage speaks to married believers by the way. It prohibits divorce but if it happens it prohibits remarriage.

    There is only two instances where and when divorce is accepted by God and when remarriage is acceptable and it’s in the events where a person was not a believer and divorced at that time but remarries in the Lord, as we know when a person is born again they become a new creation and all the old things have passed away and all things have become new, 2 Corinthians 5:17; and the second is when an unsaved person is married to a believer but then cannot bare staying married to a believer and decides to leave.

    1 Corinthians7:12-15 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

    In such cases a believer is not under bondage, in other words they are not bound by the decision of the unbeliever to divorce them, they are freed by God from that tie.

    It is obvious that throughout Scripture, both in OT and NT God’s will is that we always forgive and love and not divorce. God forgives us ALL of our sins and always love us, even when we are unfaithful to Him. God calls us to be like Him.

    Obviously here we are talking about God’s people, both in the Matthew passage and in the NT epistles it is clear that this issue of divorce is addressed to God’s people, although it’s God’s will for everybody in the world, believers or not to not get divorced. However, we know that unbelievers will not submit to God’s will and they obviously do not care about doing God’s will.

    What we have here is God addressing His people, both Jewish and Christian, His people who should submit and obey His will.

    The problem in this issue is not so much what the world does rather what the believer does.

    This takes us back to the passage of Romans 12:1-2. God is calling us to offer ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice and also we are being exhorted not to be conformed to the ways of the world but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind so that we can experience God’s will in our life, experience it by obeying it. However, how can we obey it if we don’t know it? In addition if we won’t know it we can’t consider it good, and perfect and acceptable.

    This is actually the main problem with the subject of divorce for example, but this is the problem with many issues in the church. The problem is with the acceptance of God’s will by many believers.

    We don’t have to inherently like God’s will to accept it, yet this passage tells us that if and when we renew our mind, God’s will, will become acceptable, we will actually even like it and we will like to obey it.

    Look at what John says about this:

    1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    This passage is amazing, so short and yet is says so much. We demonstrate God’s love and our love for God and also for others when we keep His word, His commandments. Then John says that God’s commandments are not grievous.

    Not grievous, what does that mean? It means that they are not heavy to perform, we do them because we love to do them, because we love to know God’s will and then to obey it, in other words it is our pleasure to obey God and it’s not something we should be reluctant to do.

    Yes I know we often have to fight against our flesh, our bodies which wage war against the spirit, see:

    Galatians 5:13-17 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

    Even this passage shows us how much it has to do with practicing God’s love and how it’s connected with obedience to God’s word.

    So we see that doing God’s will and obeying God has to become something we do with pleasure, something we can and will accept and that we will consider it always perfect, good and acceptable.

    So in conclusion, regarding the subject of divorce we see that it does not matter what a person says or thinks regarding this issue, it’s not God’s will ever that a person divorce. Therefore, anyone that says God told them to divorce is a liar and is committing a serious and dangerous sin by claiming that God told them to do something that God would never, ever tell them to do.

    However, we can truly know this fact only if we are not conformed to the ways of the world, divorcement is a way of the world, it’s man’s idea not God’s idea and we would know this also only if we are transformed by the renewing of our mind according to the word of God.

    Without us changing our way of thinking about many things, without thinking in line with God’s word and His will we cannot behave in a way that is pleasing to God. Without renewing our mind we cannot discern God’s will and accept it as good and perfect for us.

    We could expect the world not to understand or care about God’s will and yet many, too many believers, still do not know God’s will, they do not understand it, they do not accept it and therefore do not obey it.

    All this is due to the fact that they remain carnal in their way of thinking. We said it before and will repeat it, it is possible for a true born again believer to remain in a carnal state of mind if their mind is not renewed.

    As we said before the renewal of the mind is the key to unlock the door to understand and accept God’s will in our life. That is what this passage of Romans 12 is teaching us.

    You see though if these things are not taught and encouraged to be studied and practiced in the church how can we expect them to be? They will not happen and that’s why the church and many believers’ lives are in such spiritual disarray.

    This is why Christians do not grow and mature and unfortunately remain spiritual babes and encounter all kinds of negative consequences in their lives.

    Many think it’s always the devil that is causing problems in a believer’s life but in many, many cases it’s God’s discipline trying to get our attention and trying to bring us back to His ways. Unfortunately many continue to go down the path of the flesh and the world because they don’t renew their mind. In the end they ignore God’s discipline first because they don’t like to evaluate their life nor do they want to be evaluated by anyone else for that matter. Because they do this they rather blame the devil for all the difficulties they encounter, yet the devil more often than not has nothing to do with them. More often than not they are consequence of their ignorance in discerning God’s will and obeying it.

    The word of God teaches us that God disciplines those He loves:

    Hebrews 12:5-13 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed

    This passage is so rich we could spend a long time studying it, however we will not. The point here that God is trying to explain is this, He loves us and therefore both times, when we don’t obey Him as well as when He determines we need to grow spiritually He makes us undergo His specific discipline. This is either training or loving discipline in the form of teaching punishment.

    God causes us to go through times of difficulties to teach us His ways, to teach us His will, to guide and direct us and make us grow.

    This is how God does it. Even His word here says:

    Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: yet then it states this: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

    The last two verses say:

    Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed

    This means that when God disciplines us we are to stop being discouraged and basically stop wallowing in self pity or blaming the devil for that matter, rather God tells us to repent so that that which is not supposed to be there be removed so that we can be healed. This is a passage that in other words says, stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop being discouraged or as many do stop blaming the devil for your troubles, rather repent and remove those things that make you walk in a crooked way and be healed which means that sometimes one could even be physically ill, certainly spiritually healed. Remember what repenting means? It means changing our mind, our way of thinking, which then changes and modifies our behavior.

    Our growth all depends on how we react to God’s discipline in our life. What actually is ironic is that many people since they don’t distinguish between God’s discipline and His will and the devil’s hand in their life they spend a lot of time rebuking the devil and praying to God to deliver them from the devil while they are not understanding that it’s actually God causing them to go through what they go through to discipline them.

    This is the sad condition of a lot of Christians. They don’t want to let God point out their sins and the thoughts they need to change, so that it becomes easier to just blame the devil rather than examine their life and way of thinking.

    Many Christians also have a very difficult time in trying to understand or know what God’s will is regarding their life. I hear so many times the question asked: “ I want to know God’s will for my life!”

    Or, “what’s God’s will in this situation or that situation”

    The most common time I hear these questions is when someone asks them because they are relating for example, in job decisions or where to go to college.

    For many Christians these are some sticky points in trying to understand where God wants them to work or go to school.

    First of all I am not sure at all that such specific knowledge in these cases would even be necessary before one makes such a decision.

    Now, some may think at this point that I am being a heretic by saying this. Someone will say:

    “what do you mean you don’t think it’s important to know what God’s will is in such a decision?”

    That is not what I mean. However there are ways that God leads us into making the right decisions and choices but often believers seek to know them right way instead of waiting on God and searching His will in His word.

    There is a great passage in Scripture, it’s actually a promise and it’s this one:

    Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

    God promises us to direct our ways, our paths, if we do a few specific things. These are the keys by the way to get the answers to what God’s will is in all determined decisions we need to make.

    First thing we must do, is trust the Lord with all our hearts and not think we know what is good for us apart from the principles and commandments delineated in God’s word. Not leaning on our own understanding actually means to rely on something other than how we view things or understand them. This is our human, worldly or fleshly understanding.

    Instead we need to lean on God’s knowledge, His understanding, His discernment. How and where do we do find such things?

    In God’s word that is where! In His word we find all the answers we need because in God’s word we find God’s mind and His instructions for living.

    Now one will say: “OK, but that does not give us the answer as to what job we choose or what college we attend, for example”

    True, but all the decisions we must make, where to work or where to go to school should be made in line with God’s known will. That my friends is how we know what God’s will is for all our decisions.

    God will not call us on the telephone and tell us what job to take or what college to attend, He will not give us signs although many seek them. God wants us to trust Him and acknowledge Him in all our ways, and when we do He will, He will, direct our paths. In other words we are not to seek the path itself but we are to acknowledge Him and His ways, His principles of life, His commandments and He will actually direct us where He wants us to be.

    He will direct us in the right path but we have to trust Him and seek His word and look at His principles of life in order to make a decision based on God’s understanding.

    So let’s take deciding where to work for example. First of all if someone is out of work and a job one applied for wants to hire them, is there actually a lot to think about? It’s God’s will that you work. There is always time to seek, get a different, better job later.
    However, just accepting a job for the sake of working is not enough. Let’s look at what is the decision process to make the right choice according to God’s will.

    First we must examine the work place and examine it according to the word of God. Is it an honest company? Do they deal with immoral and unethical practices? Do they deal in and with things that are openly Antichrist or anti-God?

    In other words does working there place us in a state of compromising with being obedient to God?

    The answers we get from these questions determines what God’s will is for us. If we get a green light on all the above questions we can take the job and we can be 99% sure it’s God’s will for us.

    You see we didn’t have to seek for particular signs from God all we need to do is to make choices and decisions after we examine the decisions and choices scrutinizing them by the word of God.

    Now, I did say 99% sure, because there can be that one % where God may really have another job for us, perhaps a better one, yet if that is the case God will orchestrate the situation and lead us exactly where He wants.

    I hear in many believer’s lives testimonies of how God just worked out all the circumstances and then led them into the perfect situation. This is what happens when we trust Him and when we don’t make worldly and carnal choices.

    Another thing Proverbs 3:7 says is: Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

    This is a very important component in our right decision making process and God’s guidance in the right paths.

    This again means, not to be wise in ourselves, it means to honor and even fear God’s discipline and finally to depart from evil, we make decisions and choices in life using these standards of living.

    If and when we live like this, it will much easier to discern God’s will described in His word as well as the fact that if we do not live like this it will be God to place road blocks in our life and all of our efforts will be plagued by bad decisions and bad choices because God will not guide us in the right paths.

    You see, if we reject and refuse to trust God and judge all of our decisions and choices by His word and living in this way, God will let us go our own way and this can lead us into a lot of trouble and a lot of problems. If we do not depart from evil, if we don’t live in the way God desires He will not give us the best He has for us but will discipline us instead, which will allow us to be in very negative, difficult and hard situations and reap consequences we won’t particularly like.

    This entire concept is in perfect line with the renewal of our minds, which as we have seen means repentance, changing our mind about how we think and thinking about what is good and best and looking and understanding these things by acquiring the mind of Christ, which we have seen means to think like God thinks and live in obedience to His word.

    Let’s take now deciding where to go to college. How does a young person decide to go to college?

    Well, first of all here we are talking about Christians deciding this. Based on this concept we must decide according to God’s word and His principles.

    First of all we must ascertain if indeed we even should go to college. There are many other alternate schools one may be better suited for such as trade schools or technical schools. One prayerfully should look at different options as well. Another point is this one, children should not cause undue burdens on their parents. Parents unfortunately think that it’s their duty to send their children to college. I feel that parents must train their children properly, training them to understand the value of hard work, and I agree, parents can and should help their children in their academic endeavors but the children should also understand that they cannot be responsible in allowing their parents to go into debt to pay for their college expenses.

    So, the first step one should use in deciding is, can we afford to go to college? Christians should not incur in debt as much as it is possible as the word of God really does not look upon having debts in a positive way:

    Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    Too many Christian families are in a heap of debt and this happens in order to be able to afford too many things and college for their children is one of them. College by the way is not for everybody. One thing is having the academic skills to attend and one is just wasting time and money to force people to go and then realize that it does not do anyone any good except creating debt.

    How many times kids go to college for one whole year and cost their parents a lot of money and then drop out anyway? Or even worse, many go away to college and they barely make it through while living an undisciplined and also very sinful life as the peer pressures mount and they end up falling under the world’s temptations.

    Christians ought to live and act and make decisions differently than the world does and yet so often, too often, they make the same decisions as the world does and unfortunately they make them in the same way the people of the world do.

    Another thing, a Christian parent and their child should decide if college is indeed the best option for them by carefully choosing the appropriate college. First of all is it really necessary that the children go away out of state in order to attend college? Staying local does avoid many expenses and also keeps the children closer to home which at least for a Christian family should be ideal.

    Secondly what type of college is the best option? Are there Christian universities or colleges that are affordable and hopefully near by? These would be the best schools to make our children go to. I would not prohibit but definitely strongly advise against sending Christian children to secular universities. In fact the more prominent the university the stronger I would advise against.

    Most of our college or universities are godless cesspools of sin and debauchery. Their professors and curriculum are all Antichrist and Anti God.

    As a pastor I would counsel families to carefully consider their children academic future. As I said people should not get into debt to send their children to college. As I said they should train their children to live in line with God’s word and His principles of life, they should train their children to understand very early the value of money and how to live responsibly, how to work and how to save money.

    This is also a good reason why I would advise to steer clear of sending children to schools out of state, because if they live at home and commute to school they can save a lot of money in tuition. In addition they should work to contribute paying tuition. Thirdly, as I said, their academic skills should be evident and tested, in other words, I feel that a person to go to college should have a very good grade average and should be excellent enough to win scholarships and that money should be used wisely and carefully.

    Now, these are actually decisions and choices that are all based upon Godly principles and not worldly principles. The world would go into debt to send their children to college even if their academic skills are evidently low or not good. This is a grave mistake that is costing billions of dollars in incurred debt for virtually nothing. In the end the young adult, if they even make it through college, will not be any better than when they went in, in most cases they will be worse off and someone will have a lot of debt to repay uselessly.

    Today there is yet another least expensive but still very good way to attend college, that is on line courses.

    I feel this is the very best way to allow our children to attend university without the actual exposure to all the dangers, temptations and expenses of going to an actual school.

    In this fashion a child can work from home, work to pay off tuition and they will save loads of money doing this as well as staying away from temptation and eventually falling into sinful behavior.

    Now, one could ask how are these decisions based upon Godly principles or commandments?

    Simple, they are! God in His word calls us to be faithful stewards of all He entrust us with. Money being a very important thing God calls us to be faithful in managing.

    Jesus talked about being faithful with worldly riches and He would have not done so if it were not important to God.

    Luke 16:10-12 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

    Jesus is really saying that being faithful in our earthly wealth is actually closely connected with being spiritually faithful. In fact God will not entrust us with spiritual responsibilities and duties if we are not also faithful with earthly goods.

    The second and even more important issue is God gave parents the most awesome and great spiritual responsibility to train and teach children God’s principles regarding life, teaching them to be responsible and faithful.

    This second issue is also connected with spiritual stewardship, look at what Paul says for example regarding how a mature Christian should have his family:

    1 Timothy 3:4-5 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    This is a great example of what is wrong in many churches, the elder/pastors have their families in such disarray and disorder and they cannot rule their own house, if that is the case that would disqualify them from having the position of elder/pastor and that is why those churches are in a state of disorder and disarray.

    This is all connected by the way to the two things we are studying here, renewal of our minds and knowing how to discern God’s will and obey it.

    So knowing God’s will as I said earlier is not what many think it is, in fact it’s not at all what many think it is, or how to figure it out is not as hard as one thinks it is.

    The key to understand and know God’s will as we said is renewing our minds according to God’s word.

    How God wants us to be and what God wants us to di is His will for us.

    Many people erroneously think that to be doing God’s will means to find out what kind of special task or ministry God has for them. People always think that God has a call on their life that transcends just being normal Christians living normal lives.

    This way of thinking is wrong and even has caused damage in people’s lives and in entire churches.

    Every Christian does not have some ministerial call hidden in God’s will. Many believers are called to be regular believers with two main calls on their life.

    The first call on every believer’s life is to be conformed to the image of Christ in their way of thinking and their behavior.

    The other call which is the main call for the entire church by the way, is to advance the Gospel in the world.

    The two are actually bonded together in an inseparable way.

    Many people think that they must become missionaries to foreign lands, some may but that is not everybody’s call and it’s not God’s will for everybody.

    Just like it’s not God’s will that all are pastor/elders, teachers or evangelists. Some may be called to have these ministries but it’s not for every single believer.

    Scripture is clear when it teaches us that it’s God’s will for the majority of believers to be so in the normal daily life a person lives without having special ministerial positions.

    There is something that always makes me smile and that is when I hear believers say they want to work full time for the Lord.

    Every believer is a full time believer and works for God full time. There are no part time believers. We serve God from the moment we are saved to the day we die, from first thing in the morning to the moment we go to sleep. Everything we do we should do for the glory of God.

    The word of God teaches us that in whatever state or position we find ourselves we are to serve God.

    How then do we serve God? We serve God in many different ways and by doing so we are actually witnesses of the Gospel and for the Gospel.

    God want us to be like Jesus not specifically in running around doing all the things He did but in our attitude, our behavior and way of life.

    Look at what is says in Ephesians 6.

    Ephesians 6:1-9 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

    We see here what God’s will is for us. It’s for children to obey their parents, to honor them, it’s for parents, especially fathers no to provoke their children to wrath but to train them and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. God’s will is for servants, or today for employees to be obedient and respectful to their bosses being faithful to them as they would be serving Christ instead, doing the will of God from the heart, serving God not men. Then the word of God speaks to masters or to employers and says the same to them, to treat their servants or employees in a good and fair way.

    All of these things are the will of God and they are to be practice in the will of God.

    Another thing Scripture tells us what God’s will is:

    1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

    As we see here the will of God is our sanctification, in that which we should abstain from immoral behavior. It’s God’s will that we live not in the lust of concupiscence like the pagans do. We should not defraud our brothers in any matter or way. God’s will is that we be holy as He is holy.
    Another thing that is God’s will is this:

    1 Thessalonians 5:18-22 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    Even here we find God’s will specifically mentioned for us.

    His will is that we are to be thankful to God in all things. His will is that we are not to put out the work and the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our life. We are not to despise the preaching of God’s word. We are to prove all things to make sure thay are godly and good before we take part in them, when we prove all things we are to hold on to which is good and we are to abstain not only from evil things but from all things that even can appear to be evil.

    This final word here is very important, it means that it’s God’s will for us not to do anything that may appear evil even if it’s not inherently evil.

    Anything that gives the impression that there may be some type of impropriety must be avoided. Why? If we are not doing anything evil or wrong what business is it for people to judge us or comment about us?

    You see, we must avoid even to allow people to have anything whatsoever that can make them gossip about us or accuse us of wrong doing.

    I will give you the most common example that in this day and age has become very common. This is when two believers who court each other end up living together, usually this is done not to have sexual relations but for convenience and foer economic reasons, such as to save money until they are married. Now usually they may remain virtuous and abstain from temptation and fornication through out that time but this issue presents some specific problems and it makes an appearance that something immoral may be going on, that is a situation which may, in fact it will cause, an appearance of evil.
    Without counting the fact that the temptation may be too strong for them to resist and they actually could end up falling into sin. So it is always good to avoid this entire situation because it is not only an appearance of sinfulness but it is actually dangerous.

    We have seen before that fornication, which is premarital sexual relationships is a sin and it’s never God’s will for His children.

    There is another Scripture that tells Christians, especially pastors, but not only pastors that we have to be good witnesses to the world.

    1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

    The perception of impropriety is just as dangerous as the actual fact as we know that gossip not only is alive and well within the church, it’s alive and well in the world.

    Christians ought to be always of good example, our lives should be viewed by the world as above reproach. This is one of the witnesses of a changed and regenerated life.

    1 Peter 3:16-17 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

    Jesus calls us to be the salt and the light in the world so as to be witnesses that could actually cause people to glorify God, which properly understood means come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel.

    Matthew 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
    14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    As we see here Jesus speaks of the people of the world seeing our good works, not our sinful behavior nor anything that can appear as evil doing. Good works are to be only what God determines good works not what the world deems good by the way.

    You see, this issue actually brings us back to the first verse of Romans 12, which we have studied, because our service to God, our adoration to God as we said is beyond Sunday morning services, it’s our entire lives, in church and out of church. Our behavior is to be Christlike and godly at all times and this includes not giving the impression of living in sinfulness.

    Let me say this though, there is a false notion or even doctrine in the church that teaches that the Christian’s good works are evangelism or that the good works themselves would lead a person to faith in Christ.

    This is a false notion and this is why there are also many unsaved people sitting in churches.

    Good works, godly good works, doing good to others is not evangelism. Evangelism is a very particular thing, practiced by a person endowed by the Holy Spirit and called by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel. Scripture teach us that it’s the evangelist’s job in the church to preach the Gospel and that ONLY the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of those who believe it.

    Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    Scripture also teaches that salvation not only comes only through believing the Gospel but the preaching of the Gospel. We have to key passages that confirm this fact and we find them in

    1 Corinthians 1:18-21 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

    Romans 10:14-17 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    You see several times the word preaching or preach is used in connection with the Gospel. It’s God’s way of saving people, through the preaching of the Gospel, not the doing of good deeds. No one will ever be saved by the witness or the good works of a Christian, in fact in the Roman 10 passage it is evident that Paul is saying that people cannot come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel if there is no one who preaches it and they must be specially sent to do so, and the key of this passage is verse 17 which states that saving faith only comes one way to a person, it comes by hearing, hearing what? Hearing the Gospel.

    So why does Jesus tell us then to out into evidence good works so that the people of the world glorify God? What does this mean?

    When Christians practice godly good works they are witnesses to the world of their godly lives, changed lives, where as before people might have known us living in a sinful lifestyle now they see our transformed lives and if God has set His sight on any of them He will begin to draw them to the hearing of the Gospel through the witness of our lives. Let’s remember it will only be the preaching of the cross, preaching of the Gospel that will produce saving faith in the person God is calling. However, it can be our life’s witness that is used by God to begin the process of salvation.

    One example of this is found in: Acts 16:23-34 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

    As we clearly see here in this passage it was not the prayers or the hymns nor the miraculous divine intervention that saved the jailer. God used these things to bring the jailer to realize that he needed to be saved. Let me be clear, the realization of the need for salvation is not having it nor does it mean that someone will have it, however it is the first step in the right direction. As we see in the narrative of the passage it was only the preaching of the Gospel that convinced the jailer and that made him believe. It was the Paul who preached to him the Gospel that brought him and his house to believe and be saved.

    Without the preaching there was no real and viable salvation for the jailer. Certainly what happened moved the jailer to fear God and realize that he was being judged by God and yet God made sure he would hear the Gospel and saved him that way, that’s the only way to be saved. Although God’s power was manifest in the earthquake yet the power of God for the salvation of the jailer was the preaching of the Gospel.

    There is another passage that show us that it’s the preaching of the Gospel that saves people and nothing else. We find this in:

    Acts 10:1-5 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

    As we see here Cornelius was a religious man, he was God fearing. Yet, God tells him to send for Peter. Why was it necessary for Peter to go to Cornelius if Cornelius was already a God fearing man and he was religious?

    Well, let’s see why!

    Acts 10:33-45 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

    41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. 44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    This passage is another confirmation that only the preaching of the Gospel can and will save a person. Cornelius was God fearing and he was religious. Yet being God fearing and religious are not sufficient to be saved. What was and is necessary to be saved is the preaching of the Gospel. Now this passage is actually meaning much more than this but it also shows us that only the preaching of the Gospel is what saves people. There are many God fearing and religious people yet they lack salvation because they have not believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fear of God is the beginning of all knowledge because it is what leads people to be saved as it happened in the lives of Cornelius and the Philippian jailer. Cornelius and the jailer though had to have the Gospel preached to them. By the way the Gospel preached by called Apostles and Evangelists such as Peter and Paul and Silas.

    This parenthesis regarding evangelism is very important because the church has been implementing all sorts of stuff, pragmatism especially, the mainstream church has made all kinds of things into evangelism and in addition the mainstream church has elevated evangelism to be something everybody can do and this is not what biblical evangelism is. Yes, the entire church, every believer has the responsibility to work to push forward the preaching of the Gospel. However, this does not mean that everyone can or should be directly involved in the ministry of evangelism. Evangelism according to God’s word not my opinion is to be done by persons called by God and given the responsibility to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    If evangelism can and should be done by everyone why would God call and empower specific people and give them that office and position?

    Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12 that not everyone in the church has the same gifts nor the same offices or the same calling.

    1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

    1 Corinthians 12:29-30 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

    The answer to these last rhetorical questions Paul asks is no to all of them. So as we see not everyone is called to evangelize.

    This does not at all mean that we should not all be involved in the propagation of the Gospel, that is the whole church’s responsibility. Through financial support, through prayer, through witnessing, through good works the entire church can and should be involved in the propagation of the Gospel. Now I am not contradicting what I said before, only the preaching of the Gospel can and will save the sinner, only the preaching of the Gospel produces saving faith through the power of God. Yet, all the other activities mentioned are used together by God to draw people to the Gospel and to help the Gospel preaching advance into the world and in the sphere of influence of every local church and believer.

    This is another way the church and by consequence many believers are not really practicing God’s will. Why? Once again because they do things their way rather than God’s way. Once again this occurs because the minds are not renewed and therefore God’s will is not discerned. This causes the church to live and walk in a fog and a great mixture of biblical facts and man made pragmatism. This is mixing human fleshly efforts with God’s will and this in the end is never doing God’s will. Doing God’s will is doing things His way, according to His will and His word only. It’s called being obedient to God.

    The Bible is God’s word, it’s the revelation of who God is, how God is, the revelation of God’s will and purpose and His instruction and commandments by which He desires we obey and do.

    By the way, this is not legalism as many claim, it’s demonstrating that we love God when we obey Him, this is actually living by faith. Living by faith is trusting in what God says and promises and acting in accordance with that. Legalism is trying to earn salvation through works, even God’s commandments. We do not try to earn salvation nor to earn God’s love and favor through obeying His word.

    Instead it is Jesus Christ who earned salvation for us and only His life, death and resurrection, His virtues and merits applied to us are the things that save us and make us justified and righteous before God.

    Believing in the Gospel is believing in the salvation purchased for us by Jesus Christ, that is all. When we understand that God is the author, the vehicle, the One who applies salvation to us and by whom we actually receive the faith to believe in Christ, when we realize that God has chosen us by His mercy and grace to receive His salvation and actually believe in Christ then we will have a great love for God who did it all and who saved us without any merit whatever and this love will cause us to desire to trust anf obey God.

    Look at what John says about this and see if what I am saying is true or not. Follow the thread:

    1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

    1 John 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

    1 John 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.

    1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    John in these passages is making a whole argument regarding what loving God means and how we demonstrate that we love God. It’s not in singing songs or making great public declarations that we love God. God sees the demonstration of our love for Him in two things, trusting and obeying Him and loving our brothers and sisters.

    Jesus said it this way:

    John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    Look at this passage, very important, Jesus says those who cherish God’s commandments and obedience to God are those who love Jesus Christ, those who love God. Then He says something that is key for the church today, Jesus will manifest Himself to those who love Him through faith, obedience is practiced faith. Just think many Christians and churches are always seeking God’s power and the manifestation of His Spirit in them and yet they remain disobedient to God in many, many ways. They look for the miracles and the signs and yet they live in disobedience, run the churches in disobedience and in human ways. Jesus says that He will move powerfully, He will manifest Himself to those who love Him through obedience. Many seek revival and yet they don’t seek to obey God therefore there can be no revival.

    Jesus also says this:

    John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

    As we see not obeying Jesus’s word and God’s commandments is demonstrating that there is no love for God.

    So, keeping God’s word and commandments is not legalism for born again believers, obedience is a demonstration of loving the God who saved them. It’s not trying to earn salvation but it’s showing gratitude and love to God and Jesus who saved us for no other reason than their mercy and grace.

    Doing God’s will is not only obeying it or disobeying it directly, it is also doing everything we do according to how God wants it done. As I said before if we do things in our individual lives and in the church not as God requires it is not doing God’s will even if we think we are actually doing it. Evangelism is the perfect example, if a person goes around evangelizing but they are not called and equipped by God to do so, that is actually not doing God’s will although evangelism is God’s will.

    The bottom line of this entire section of our study is understanding God’s will, accepting it and obeying it.

    Doing this Paul us saying is only possible if we have a good knowledge of God and His word and this occurs only if our minds are renewed. Only if our minds are renewed will we be truly begin our transformation into the image of Christ and only this way will we not be conformed to the ways of the world.

    So in conclusion, God’s will is always perfect, good and acceptable. The people who do not renew their mind by exposing and exercising it to the renewing power of the reading, studying and meditation of God’s word will have a very difficult time knowing God’s will so you can figure even more easily that they will also not consider God’s will as perfect, good and acceptable either.

    This is why there are many problems in the church and in many believers’ lives. This is the reason that often we may have a hard time in this area as well. There are areas of our thought process that still have to get in line with God’s ways of thinking and until that occurs we will have a difficult time accepting God’s will regarding those specific areas where our mind is not renewed.

    God will guide us into His unknown will, it’s God’s promise remember Proverbs 3:5-7, If we trust in Him with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding God will direct our steps in the right paths, in His paths, in His will for us.

    All we need to do is trust God in the issues we don’t know or understand or have full disclosure about, while we draw understanding and knowledge regarding God’s will that we do know as it is revealed in His word. We don’t need to know and understand everything, trusting God means just that, allowing Him to direct us in those areas where His will is not disclosed or revealed to us.

    It is a difficult thing to do for us who are always used to just make decisions and do things on our own, but that is not living by faith nor is it to lean on God and His understanding.

    His understanding is revealed to us in His word and that is where we have to seek God’s knowledge and His understanding and His ways. We live by faith, believing and obeying His word, taking His promises at face value and when we do all this, when we walk in God’s revealed will He will, He will without a doubt guide us in His unknown will.

    God does not always want to tell us exactly every detail of His will for us otherwise how could we trust Him? If we are always seeking for answers and facts, if we seek, any many do, for signs to direct us in the way we should go, that would not be trusting Him really. We would be saying to God that we would proceed forward only if He gives us a sign in some way we think He will allow us to see a huge lit arrow in the sky showing us the direction or some kind of a heavenly billboard, sign or phone call to tell us how we should walk.

    I feel that this kind of mentality in the Christian’s life is like using God in the way one would seek a fortune teller, or a horoscope in order to gauge their life and their ways.

    Trusting God is not witchcraft or divining, it’s trusting Him and it’s obeying His known will while He guides us in His unknown will for us.

    Another erroneous way Christians think God’s leads them is by hearing a special rhema word. Remember we talked about this subject in our study and we should know why it is erroneous to think God will speak to us in that way. In addition Christians use God’s word itself as some type of horoscope, by thinking somehow God would give a clear direction as to how to move by seeking a specific passage or verse. Now, God may speak to us by leading us to a particular passage where we glean some better understanding regarding certain issues we are facing.

    Let me give you an example, several times in prayer I was perplexed regarding certain things and God directed me in a certain passage where I found the answer to my perplexity and my questions.

    Let me give you two particular examples that happened to me. One was regarding a question I had in my mind of why when I first began to be interested and follow Christ I could not stop wanting to live in a sinful manner and why I kept periodically leave the church and go back to the world and my old ways and actually enjoyed sinning when I did and why now since I thought I had recommitted to Christ I had no longer the desire to live in sinfulness and go after the things of the world. I was noticing a net difference between before and now and I was wondering what was different this time.

    In that very morning devotional Bible reading I had scheduled to read the Gospel of John chapter 2.

    In the very last verses of the chapter I read this:

    John 2:23-25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

    I probably read this verse so many times before but never before did I understand it like I did that morning. God allowed me to understand the meaning of the passage and I saw the application of the meaning to the actual question I had in my heart.

    In the past I was following Jesus for the wrong reasons, with the wrong motivations. Somehow I was deceiving myself like those people that my faith was actually genuine but I was failing to understand as well as they did one essential part of the Gospel and the part I was not willing to accept. Like these Jewish people I wanted to follow Jesus because I wanted the benefits He offers while I was not willing to accept His lordship and recognize Him as Lord and desire to obey Him more than desire my own will and sin. As the passage says He did not commit Himself to them for He knew that their hearts were not right. Look, even Judas followed Jesus but he was not a true disciple, he was not a person destined to salvation as that became evident later. Many followed Jesus because He was blessing them with temporal and physical blessings, but they as well as others and even me were not willing to declare Him Lord of their life. When someone follows Jesus for those reasons and without confessing Him as Lord they are really not saved yet. Let’s remember that it is God who saves us at a determined time, the problem is that if He does not commit Himself to us then we are not saved. Our faith has to be real and genuine and that faith is given to us by Him and that faith when it is real it makes us confess, accept Jesus as our Lord which means we are now willing to forsake all things for Him, we are willing to obey Him and be what He wants us to be.

    Let’s remember that the acceptance of Jesus as Lord of our life is an essential component in our salvation process.

    Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    Confessing Jesus as Lord is not only saying it, confessing Him as Lord is something we do with our mouth but it is something that comes from a new heart and mind, heart and mind touched by God’s Spirit. You see, following Jesus when we are not born again is impossible and it’s impossible to allow Him to be Lord in or life.

    In the end the comprehension of that passage became the answer of my perplexity and of my question.

    You see, it’s the comprehension of God’s word that answers our life dilemmas and questions.

    The Jews in question wanted an earthly Messiah who would bless them physically and give them earthly blessings, this is why the passage says they believed in Him. However these are the wrong reasons for wanting to have Jesus in one’s life. They did not want to recognize Him as Lord, they did not recognize Him as God in the flesh, they did not repent of their sins, but instead wanted the benefits and the blessings of Messiah without repentance and without recognizing Him as Lord of their lives.

    It is one thing to believe mentally and historically that Jesus is God, but another is to live by accepting the lordship of Christ over our lives.

    You see, many people today want to have the blessings of God, even including eternal salvation but do not want to sacrifice their lives for Christ, they do not want to repent of their sins and renounce the sinful life and the ways of the world. In other words the desire of their heart is not to love and serve God with their lives, but instead to desire the salvation and the blessings of God but to live as it pleases them instead of doing the will of God, in other words letting Jesus be the true Lord of their lives. If the reasons are not what God wants, God does not trust any man.

    Jesus, God knows the true condition of the heart and knows the motives of men’s hearts. God knows when we are sincere and our faith is true, because as I said before it is He who regenerates us and gives us genuine faith, we cannot fool God. We can deceive ourselves but not God.

    So this was my condition and as long as God had not completed the process of the new birth in me I never meant that Jesus control my desires. Among other things, this does not mean becoming perfect, but to have the intense desire that Jesus be the Lord in our lives and not us. This means that God control every aspect of our lives and desiring that God will help us in the process of our transformation and the renewal of our minds.

    The other instance was when again a had a question in my mind. When I preached and taught in the church in Italy I noticed the church in spite of what was being preached and taught in the pulpit was not responding to the preaching and teachings. I had a real problem with this and then as it happened in the previous episode I described, I was again reading my daily Bible scheduled reading and in it I read this passage:

    Ezekiel 33:30-33 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. 31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. 33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.

    Reading this passage God allowed me to understand that often today’s preachers of God’s word preach the truth of God but many of the people who sit in churches are still in the same spiritual condition as the people in Ezekiel’s day. In reality they seem to want to seek God’s word and His will but as the passage says they are not willing to do His words and practice His will. As God says they perceived the preaching even as a lovely song or a pleasant voice or a well played instrument but they did not want to obey God’s word. Basically this means that they like God’s word and the preaching and teaching of His word as a form of entertainment but not as it really is God’s word which needs to be obeyed not only heard.

    James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

    It is worth mentioning that in my daily Bible reading I also read the following chapter Ezekiel 34. I don’t have the time to expound the entire chapter however it suffices to say that the chapter which you can read in your own if you are interested, speaks about the fact that God has a contention with the shepherds of His flock and that He is indicting their ways as they did not take care of the sheep as He desired. This was also an additional answer to my question that morning. The church was not responding to God’s word because they were not willing to obey it but the underlined reason was because the pastors were not doing things as God desired.

    This is how God speaks to us, He may answer our perplexities and questions by giving us understanding of His word and as we understand the meaning of His word we also get the answers.

    God can and will give us understanding in this way but we are not to seek out His unknown will for our life in such a way that we expect God to reveal signs or give us specific words by which we need to make our decisions. As I said before many of His principles in His word are sufficient for us to obey and practice and understand and we are to follow and walk in the ways we do know and understand. This is trusting God and allowing Him through His providence to guide and direct us in things we don’t know or understand.

    Let me give you two perfect examples delineated for us in Scripture.

    The first one is found in:

    Genesis 24:7 The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

    As we see Abraham sends His servant to pick a wife for Isaac from the land whence he came from, from his own family.

    He does not give his servant a whole lot of information as t how he has to choose a wife for Isaac rather he says he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

    Abraham trusts that God will lead his servant to pick the right woman for his son. He trusts God and that is all. He does not tell God how to do it he does not seek to know how God will do it, he just trusts God. God works all the circumstances just such that He gives Abraham’s servant the right woman to bring back to Isaac. God orchestrated all of the circumstances.

    The second even more clear episode of God’s leading someone in His will without knowledge of the plan is Joseph.

    Joseph’s life is a blueprint for how we are to live ours and how we are to trust God in His leading without knowing every detail of His will for us.

    Joseph’s life experience is found in Genesis 37:3 to Genesis 50:26. Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers who hated him to a caravan of Ishmeelites Gen 37:25. He was then brought to Egypt and sold to Potiphar Gen 37:36.

    Now we do not ever see, written in the pages of Scripture describing Joseph’s life, where Joseph wonders or asks God what is going on, or what is God’s will for his life. Yet Joseph had many, many reasons to even wonder

    “what in the world is going on here?” Or “what is your will for me now Lord?”

    It would be almost obvious that Joseph would wonder or ask God what was next every time he went through something. Yet, Joseph never does. Instead look at what God’s word says:

    Genesis 39:2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

    There is a theme in Joseph’s life and the theme is “The Lord was with Joseph!”

    Look at what happens next. Joseph is blessed and became a prosperous servant yet Potiphar’s wife wants to have an intimate relationship with him but Joseph, watch now, does God’s will by not sinning against God and his master. Yet still doing God’s known and revealed will lands him in jail as he gets falsely accused by his master’s wife.

    Yet we don not see Joseph questioning God’s will for his life even when he lands in jail, instead the Scriptures tell us this:

    Genesis 39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

    Then something else happens in prison two of Pharaoh’s servants the baker and the cup bearer get thrown into prison and they have dreams. Joseph interprets their dreams and the dreams come to pass. The cup bearer gets restored to his position and Joseph had asked him that when he was restored he would remember him before Pharaoh to get him out of prison.

    Yet the Scriptures tell us that the cup bearer forgot about Joseph.

    Now, it would have been easy for Joseph to think that even God had forgotten him and begin to question God’s will for him. Let’s remember that way back in Genesis 37 God had given Joseph a dream in which He promised Joseph a position of great power and authority, Gen 37:5-10.

    It would have been very easy now after so many years had passed and after he was sold into slavery and then cast into prison for no reason and then forgotten in prison to think that the dream he had was just a dream, perhaps he misunderstood the dream.

    Yet, Joseph did not question God nor does the Bibles say that he lost hope. He waited upon God and in fact after two more years of prison something happens. Pharaoh has a dream and none of his seers can interpret the dream. It is then that the cup bearer remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh about what happened in jail two years before and Pharaoh calls on Joseph to interpret his dream. Joseph does so and also gives Pharaoh the solution to how to handle the famine that the dreams were telling would come. There were to be seven years of abundance and seven years of famine so the dream showed. Pharaoh is impressed with Joseph and elevates him to second in charge in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh.

    Hated by his brothers sold as a slave to falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, to be cast in jail and to be forgotten there to becoming the second more powerful man in Egypt. Wow! Not once does the Scriptures say that Joseph wavered, that Joseph stopped believing that God would make good on His promise made to him through that dream many years before. The Bible says the Lord was with Joseph and apparently Joseph new it and Joseph trusted God to lead him through thick and thin to bring him to the place God had promised.

    Perhaps Joseph understood very well even before it was written the promise of God that states in

    Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    Perhaps Joseph understood very well even before he said it what Jesus said in:

    Matthew 6:33-34 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

    It seems that Joseph understood very well what Paul has written in the passage we are studying here

    Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    Joseph did not worry what God’s will was for his life moment by moment, he trusted God, he let himself go into God’s hands, he lived out Romans 12:1-2 and he lived out Proverbs 3:5-7.

    Joseph knew that God is faithful and he keeps His promises do we?

    If we know then we will trust Him, to trust Him though we must also be aware of His promises and those are found in His word, so once again here we are, we went full circle. We renew our mind by the knowledge of God’s word, look even knowing Joseph’s story teaches us how to accept God’s will in ur life even when we don’t know what God is doing. We know that all that God allows us to go through He does it with love and mercy and for our good and ultimately for His glory.

    God is not obligated to make us know all of His will for our lives. After all if we become aware of everything we would not walk by faith but would walk by sight. God does not want us to know and see many things because He want us to trust Him and allow ourselves to be guided by Him. God wants us to experience that His will is good, perfect, pleasant and acceptable by experiencing it. The key word here is acceptable, God’s will is always acceptable or should be. The sad thing is that many believers do not consider God’s revealed will good, perfect and acceptable and this happens precisely because the mind is not renewed. So that if they fail to know, obey and accept the revealed will of God, how can they be guided by God without knowing His mysterious will for them? That’s why many believers always want to have answers from God, they always want to get signs or revelations or dreams because they do not want to live and walk by faith in the cases they do not know the will of God. It does not seem enough to know already that God is good, faithful, truthful, merciful and work together all things for the sake of the elect. They do not want to rely on the revealed will of God in the Scriptures but instead they want to see, understand something even before they move ahead or decide to do something. Being strong in life really means to be weak before God and allowing Him to guide us and ensure that we allow God to mold us and this my friends we must learn to do without knowing all the details of His will for us, rather doing what Paul is telling us here, with the renewal of mind and through our experiences we will know the will of God that He wants us to know, but even that part that is unknown to us is always perfect, good and acceptable even when and if we do not know it. To live by faith is to trust and obey what we know or can know and to let God guide us when we are not able to know what God wants to do in our lives and doing it without questioning His motivations. They are and will be always good for us, always even if we don’t know them or understand them right away.